Inheritance by Dani Shapiro


The acclaimed and beloved author of Hourglass now gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets—a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she recently made about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden story of her own life.What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?In the spring of 2016, through a genea...

Details Inheritance

Release DateJan 15th, 2019
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Audiobook

Reviews Inheritance

  • Diane S ☔
    You're 54 years old, always felt like the odd duck in your Jewish family, blond, blue eyed, pale, but you were not prepared for the results of your genealogical testing. Although you often felt like you didn't belong, you knew who you belonged to, who your parents were, but you never expected what came in that little envelope. Your father, not your father, and although both your parents are no longer alive, you want and need answers. Who are you ...
  • Elyse Walters
    Audiobook.... read by Dani Shapiro!I love her! I love her!!!!!I *love* Dani Shapiro!!!!!I really ‘could’ listen to Dani read the phone book!!!Keeping with tradition... having listened to Dani read her books before - I made sure to ( again) soak in our warm pool - for hours -fingers getting pruney - while soaking in *Dani*!At least when I cried ( 3 different times) - I was already wet! Two scenes hit my emotions deeply. One when Dani was talki...
  • Brandice
    Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love is Dani Shapiro’s story of discovering at the age 54, through a simple DNA test, that her dad is not in fact her biological father - Something that was never known to her. I cannot imagine learning of this type of news, though I know Shapiro is not alone in this discovery. Her dad is no longer alive and she admits she never had a close relationship with her mother, who unfortunately isn’...
  • Michael
    My full review can be found on BookBrowse.A compelling exploration of paternity, identity, and belonging, Inheritance centers on a shocking discovery about the author's ancestry. In early 2016, after submitting her DNA for analysis through on a whim, Dani Shapiro found out that she is not in fact biologically related to her deceased father, an Ashkenazi Jew. The acclaimed memoirist has spent her career writing about family history an...
  • Julie Ehlers
    But here I was. An inconvenient truth that had indeed been born from his own body.... My very existence was due to the fact that he never dreamt he'd have to deal with such a thing.As the book description and flap copy will tell you, Inheritance is about the time respected writer Dani Shapiro took a DNA test as a lark and, from its results, learned that her father was not actually her biological father. This, of course, raised a number of questio...
  • Jana
    Wow. I don’t usually read a book this fast. I listened to this one on audible, excellently narrated by the author.I love her writing. This is only the second book I’ve read by her, but her writing is flawless. She makes it seem so easy, and I mean this as high praise. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that the book is about her unexpected DNA results. It is in the description and the title. I really tried to put myself in her shoes. I k...
  • Rebecca
    Dani Shapiro was used to strangers’ comments about her blond hair and blue eyes. How could it be that she was raised an Orthodox Jew? people wondered. It never occurred to her that there was any truth to these hurtful jokes. On a whim, in her fifties, she joined her husband in sending off a DNA test kit. It came back with alarming results: she was only half Ashkenazi Jew, and she and her father’s daughter from a previous marriage were unrelat...
  • Jennifer Blankfein
    Follow Book Nation by Jen for reviews and recommendations.Do you really know the story of your life? Author Dani Shapiro thought she did; the daughter of a Jewish mother and an Orthodox Jewish father, Dani grew up surrounded by, and enmeshed in Judaism, Hebrew, traditions and rituals. She had a deep love and admiration for her ancestors who came before her and she drew strength from just knowing about them. In Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, ...
  • Edith
    2 1/2 stars. Dani Shapiro unexpectedly learns, at the age of 54, as a result of a DNA test, that the man she knew as her father was not biologically related to her. She and her husband very quickly figure out (not a spoiler) that her mother became pregnant as a result of donor sperm. The memoir continues to follow her search into the circumstances of her birth.While I empathize with the tremendous emotional upheaval this discovery caused the auth...
  • Krista
    Their trauma became mine – had always been mine. It was my inheritance, my lot. My parents' tortured pact of secrecy was as much a part of me as the genes that had been passed down. As ought to flit through anyone's mind who sends away a DNA test “for fun”, when Dani Shapiro got her results back, she learned that her father – the man she had lost in a car accident thirty years earlier but who had remained the touchstone of her identity th...
  • Marika
    Not many memoirs make me sit up and say woah. Dani Shapiro's book *Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love* is THAT book. Dani, like many of us, submitted a sample of DNA for testing and for fun, but unlike many of us, she received shocking news that her father wasn't her biological father. Her whole life Dani was always told that she didn't look Jewish, even from family members. So to get the news that her father wasn't her biolo...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    The author is in her 50s when she finds out that her father is not her biological father. Due to her religious upbringing and strong family background, this throws her whole identity out of focus. Fascinating look at how the fertility industry operated in its early days and the challenges from the current trend of genetic testing. Wonderfully introspective account of how the author came to understand and accept her parents actions.
  • Tammy
    I really identified with this memoir as I recently made a discovery though DNA testing. My grandmother was born in 1921 and never knew her biological parents. I found them through contacting DNA matches in Michigan. Dani makes a discovery that shakes her to the core. Mine was not a dramatic but evoked a lot of similar feelings as Dani's. Great read.
  • Kaytee Cobb
    I have to admit that the description of this did not sound very interesting to me. But sometimes I feel obligated to pick up books that are buzzed about so I'm informed. Well, I was wrong. Dani Shapiro writes a very well-researched, while still being personal and emotional, memoir about DNA, ancestry, infertility, and medical practices. I couldn't put it down.
  • Sarah
    I read this book in two sittings—in fact, it is now 2:38 AM. I’ve just put down the book to opine to strangers on Goodreads that, despite a complaint from a disgruntled reader that the book is “self-indulgent”—I, too, was initially distrusting—trust me when I say that it gets better. If it speaks to you the way it has spoken to me, you’ll be up in the early hours, keen to find out what will happen next on Shapiro’s journey to disc...
  • Zennifer
    Self-absorbed, white privileged author who is blissfully unaware of the real challenges of life as she ridiculously overreacts to genetic test results.
  • PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
    ***Thanks to First to Read for providing me a complimentary copy of INHERITANCE: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love in exchange for my honest review.***INHERITANCE: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love is the story of a middle-aged woman, writer Dani Shapiro, who learns her father is not her biological father and her journey to seeing how she fits into her life.I never connected to Shapiro or her story, although I’ve read and enjoye...
  • Lori
    Dani Shapiro took a DNA test. The man she believed to be her biological father was not. She discovered her parents difficult conceiving a child led them to a clinic where her mother was artificially inseminated not with her father's sperm but with that of a young doctor. A first cousin match led to the man's identity. Correspondence between Shapiro and her biological father took place. The eventually met. While I enjoyed the DNA story, the public...
  • Jess
    I thought this would be an interesting book similar to Carolyn Abraham’s The Juggler’s Children. Unfortunately, I was mistaken. Shapiro mentions her role as writer again and again as well as her desire to make sense of her life. While memoir is an inherently self-indulgent genre, I find Shapiro's unwillingness to examine her privilege very troubling. She has immediate access to information, many friends and colleagues with which to process ne...
  • Helga Cohen
    Dani Shapiro writes a thought provoking memoir about her exploration into paternity and identity. Shapiro submitted a DNA test just on a whim and for fun but unlike most people who do so, she received shocking news that her father wasn’t her biological father. She was raised an Orthodox Jew and was very close to her very observant father. She did not get along with her mother. She was often told that she didn’t look Jewish with her blond hair...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    ‘I wasn’t my father’s daughter. The thought knifed through me, sharper each time I touched it.’ Shapiro’s latest memoir, her fifth, is as penetrating and beautiful as we’ve come to expect from this masterful writer. Here, after taking a DNA test on a whim, she discovers her father is not her biological father and is forced to examine her identity anew. Who am I? Why am I here? How will I live?
  • Carly Friedman
    I finished this excellent audiobook in one day. I could not stop listening! There were several personal reasons why I identified with this memoir of Shapiro’s discovery that the father who raised her was not her biological father and path that led to both her biological father and self-acceptance. I too have no idea who my biological father is. I married into a Jewish family so I understand the sense of not fully belonging. Shapiro’s writing ...
  • Shelly
    This is an excellent memoir about a woman who decides to do an DNA test. She did it on a whim, not expecting to find out her father is not her biological father. It's a fascinating topic to read about. More than once I've clicked on links of articles in Washington Post or elsewhere that talk about people finding out family secrets as a result of those DNA tests. This memoir is special, though. It has the added complexity of faith and...
  • Chantal
    2018-12-10 memoir, which is in four parts, is Dani Shapiro's most intimate memoir to date. Shapiro who has always considered herself her father's daughter is devastated to learn that he is not her biological father.Despite clues along the way, nothing clicks until she takes a DNA test. She expected to find that she is 100% Jewish but the test reveals something else altogether. She is biologically related to her m...
  • Sue Dix
    Thank you and Penguin Books for this ARC. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I have only read one other book by this author, and I wondered at the time why I just couldn’t connect with her story. Perhaps this book is the explanation. Haunting her for her entire life, a sense of otherness, unconnectedness, must have come through her writing. Filled with painful honesty, Inheritance is a compelling memoir of personal discovery. I ...
  • Chris
    It is a coincidence that I read this book about discovering the author’s father wasn’t her biological father as an AncestryDNA kit sits in my house. Given as a gift, I will probably be the one who ends up using it, but I doubt there will be any surprises; I have my father’s small Slavic eyes and there is no question I am related to everyone in my family. I’ve read several of Shapiro’s memoirs, she is one of my favorite contemporary writ...
  • Michelle
    I've read (and enjoyed) many of Dani Shapiro's works and this is my favorite by far. It's been receiving a fair amount of hype, and is deserving of every bit. It's amazing to think that she'd already written several memoirs, unknowing that the most salient was still to come. On a lark, like so many of us, Shapiro took a DNA test and the results upended everything she thought she knew. It's absolutely riveting to follow her through the realization...
  • Margo Littell
    Inheritance is as lyrical and deeply moving as Shapiro’s other memoirs, but it also brings a new urgency to her well-honed personal storytelling. From the moment Shapiro accidentally discovers the secret at the heart of her very existence, her quest for answers unfolds starkly and sometimes heartbreakingly, and she brings her readers along with characteristic perceptiveness and generosity of spirit. There is stark beauty in hewing this close to...
  • Suzze Tiernan
    On a day in which my best friend’s adopted son found his half brother through 23andMe, I happened across the review copy of this book. I couldn’t put it down. Such an interesting story, and her journey was memorable. 5 stars. Thanks to Knopf and Edelweiss.