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, Biography Memoir

Reviews Inheritance

  • Michael
    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 and Jewish culture, and Inheritance recounts...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Chantal
    1970-01-01 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...
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • Suzanne
    Engaging and often riveting account of a middle-aged woman’s surprise at learning she is not the biological daughter of the father she revered. She learns her mother had visited a clinic for infertility and persuades herself, at least initially, that her Jewish Orthodox father could not have known. The truth as best she can determine is fascinating and the author does a great job of sharing her tale with us. I received my copy from Penguin’s ...
  • Kathy
    I received a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.It is a testament to Shapiro's writing that I found myself continuing to read even on nights when I was too tired to think. My experience with memoirs that are written during or shortly after a life-changing event is that they can feel muddled, often as if the author has not processed his/her feelings before sharing them. However, this is not the case with Inheritance. Shapiro wrote h...
  • Renée Goldfarb
    Thanks to Penguin's First to Read program, I was able to read an advance copy of Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro (available Jan. 15). The best-selling author discovered, through DNA testing on Ancestry, that her father wasn't her biological father. Dani was raised in a religious Jewish family, but always looked different than her relatives with her blond hair and blue eyes. After this discovery, the author ...
  • Kristi Richardson
    How would you feel if through a DNA test you found that your father wasn't your father? This is the premise of Dani Shapiro's book and how she coped and survived this nightmare. I thoroughly enjoyed this well written book given to me by the Penguin's First Reads program. I can only imagine how I would feel if the same thing happened to me. I learned more about invitro fertilization and the danger of using a questionable ethics clinic. I highly re...
  • Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
    I have to confess that I was hooked by "genealogy" in the subtitle, and not as much by the "paternity and love." But I did read every word, and these days, I skip anything that isn't keeping my interest. I enjoyed learning how Dani Shapiro and her husband Michael, a journalist, tracked down Dani's biological father after Dani took a DNA test that came up with surprising results. On the other hand, I sometimes became exasperated with Dani's melodr...
  • Sally Stieglitz
    Beautifully written and poignant memoir in which self examination is like a kaleidoscope, shifting at every turn. The questions, Who am I, Why am I who I am, resonate for all readers and especially for memoirist Dani Shapiro whose foundation, her family and her identity, have informed and reformed her writings. This compelling story is almost a Sherlockian mystery. I hope to read more of Shapiro's journey if she chooses to share it with readers.
  • Janilyn Kocher
    Inheritance, the latest memoir by Shapiro, is quite poignant. I have read all of her memoirs, but this one was very moving. In her mid 50s, due to a DNA test, she discovers her beloved father is not her biological father. As Dani delved deeper into the mystery she faced many questions and apprehensive feelings. Finding her biological father took only a short time and through the Internet she connected with him and his family. It's a roller coaste...
  • J
    This book was so moving... I loved Inheritance. Upon learning something entirely new about herself and the journey to find answers, Dani Shapiro's new book had me from the first page. It's beautiful and heartwrenching, a page turner that I did not want to end. I was so honored to win a giveaway for an advanced copy of this book.  Dani Shapiro's writing is so elegant and thoughtful... you feel as if you are on the journey with her. A simple DNA t...
  • Cora
    What an arresting book. There's something about Dani Shapiro's writing that is like a spiderweb: detailed and delicate and elegant, but with surprising tensile strength behind it, and this story was incredibly moving: her discovery, and all its resulting impacts on her sense of who she is; her struggle to reconcile her memories of her parents with what she now knows; and her approaching of her biological father and his family with apprehension an...
  • Leslie Lindsay
    Wildly thought-provoking medical, ethical, and genetic mystery, Dani Shapiro opens up about her journey of identity in INHERITANCE. I finished INHERITANCE (Knopf, January 15 2019) in just two sittings (but it could have been one if I had been more disciplined). Here, she begins with a lovely childhood memory of waking in the morning hours and scurrying to the bathroom where she perches on the sink to gaze at her reflection in the mirror. Who is t...
  • 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...
  • Kacie
    This is a well-written, compelling memoir exploring when the author's DNA results uncovered a misattributed parentage. At times, the book was sad and reflective; at other times, it felt like a real-time fact-finding mission. The author explores family and identity in a way that is so relevant to our times.Recommended for anyone interested in genetic genealogy, and people who discover misattributed parentage in their own family tree. This isn't a ...
  • Energy
    Inheritance follows Dani's journey as she realizes that the father that raised her is not her biological father. We follow her as she struggles to answer the many questions that arise for her. Did her father know? Did her mother know? What exactly did they know and to what extent? What does this mean for her now? She was raised Jewish and she is very strong in her faith. Her ties to her father are steeped in going to Temple with him, but what now...
  • Evie
    if I could give it 4 1/2 stars I would. Excellent book. Couldn't put it down.
  • Heather
    I devoured this book. So much to reflect on - identity, what is family, How standards of science and culture can resonate decades later.
  • Valerie weber
    Interesting story about Ms. Shapiro life. With so many individuals taking DNA tests, one can hear, read or might even know someone who finds their live turned up side down. I throughly enjoyed this book.
  • Kristin
    Acclaimed author Dani Shapiro thought she had it all…fame, fortune and family. Raised in the Jewish faith, blond-haired Dani was continually questioned about her ethnicity, without too much thought. Until an impulsive DNA test came back with shocking results. Shapiro’s perfectly constructed memoir suddenly came crumbling to pieces sending her stumbling into a quest for answers and culpability. A compelling, courageous read certain to raise mo...
  • Rachel Smalter Hall
    When I first heard about Inheritance, I have to admit I wrinkled my nose a little—hadn’t I already listened to enough memoirs about FAMILY SECRETS and COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIPS? I mean, sure, it’s one of my favorite sub-genres, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Inheritance, as it turns out, is a perfect little jewel of a memoir. Well into her adult life, Dani Shapiro took a DNA test on a whim—only to discover that her...
  • Sara Smith
    I received a free ARC of this book from First to Read. I wanted to read this book because those ancestry tests are catching on with lots of my extended family. I think people do jump in sometimes thinking it will be fun and not realizing the potential for life-changing news such as what this author Dani Shapiro received when she found out that her father wasn't really her father. The range of emotions she shares with the reader as she makes this ...