Author Spotlight | Inheritance by Dani Shapiro #nonfiction #genetics

It’s funny how the universe works, right? Honestly this book wasn’t even on my radar. I was actually driving an hour to a book signing because the interview-er was someone I’ve always loved and admired. The premise sounded interesting enough and I hadn’t been to this particular bookstore before, so why not?

So imagine my complete awe as I listened to author Dani Shapiro read the first chapter of her book, Inheritance : A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love.

Her latest title shares her search for identity and personhood after discovering at the age of 54 that her father wasn’t her biological father.

Mrs. Shapiro was lovely and articulate and sensitive and her story is so intriguing. The questions and concerns that came up after this information came to light was mind-boggling. Questions of religion, ethics, anonymity and secrets. The idea that you could spit in a tube and get your DNA results would have been the stuff of science fiction in the 1960s. Did you know that the USA and Canada are the only two countries with NO sperm donor restrictions or registries?!

January 2019 – How A DNA Kit Revealed A Family Secret Hidden For 54 Years (Time Magazine)

The subjects of adoption and family and genealogy are so very interesting. Nature versus nurture, the traits you carry forward from generation to generation… fascinating.

Ultimately her story is one of love. Isn’t this quote beautiful?

I was raised in an observant Jewish household, so for me, Hebrew prayers – the sounds, the sunlight streaming in from the stained-glass windows of a synagogue – bring my father back to me as surely as if he were sitting next to me, my head pressed against his shoulder. Dani Shapiro

The event was held at Diesel, a Bookstore in the Brentwood Country Mart and it was one of their largest attended events! Independent bookstores are such rare gems and Diesel is a great space. I was pleased to overhear that Chelsea Clinton recently chose Diesel over Barnes and Noble for a recent signing!

QOTD: Would you or have you sent in your DNA for analysis? Were you surprised by the results?

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  1. Thanks for this beautiful insight into her reading and the book! I was torn on this one because I knew she was an established memoirist but I haven’t read anything else by her, so I wasn’t sure if it was the right place to start. But it’s been getting great reviews, and I love the quote you shared. I think I might have to check it out. I hope you’ll review it!


    • Thanks for stopping by! (I wish I knew your first name! 😂) I was very impressed and will definitely be reviewing it. It was so interesting that she’s been writing about family for years even before she knew her own history. Oh and she also said she ended up with a better medical history than the one she’d been using!


      • It’s Rennie 🙂 That is a really interesting idea, that family was such a big topic for her in her writing and yet there was this huge secret there. I’m really curious, will have to add it to my list, and looking forward to your review!


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