Searching For Truth: A Brief Review Of Dani Shapiro’s “Inheritance A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love.”

Just imagine for a moment that you decide to submit your DNA to one of those genealogy testing sites and the results come back but with a truth bomb attached to it. Imagine reading the results only to discover what you thought you knew about yourself was completely wrong. What if a beloved parent really wasn’t your parent after all? How would you handle a discovery like that?

That is exactly what happens to author Dani Shapiro in her revealing memoir Inheritance A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love. Published in 2019 by Knopf, Shapiro’s book takes you through a tale of revelation, betrayal, reflection, self -examination and a reclaiming of identity that leads to the path of closure.

Even as a child Shapiro knew something wasn’t quite right about her identity. She was raised Jewish and believed up until the moment the DNA results came in that she was fully 100% Jewish. The results told a different story, only 52%. This leads to the next big revelation and within that context comes the painful truth that her half-sister really isn’t her half-sister and the man she had known as her father is not her father. The further she probes, she learns her biological father was a sperm donor. Shapiro drudges up from the recess of her mind old memories. Comments from family friends and neighbors about her physical appearance are painfully recalled. She falls down a rabbit hole or several, in search of answers concerning the truth about her identity. However, the two people that she needs to talk the most about this are her parents. The problem with that is they are both deceased. From the past to the present, history mixed with science leads her to the truth.

In my past experience some memoirs can be a bit of a dull read. This is not one of those. This book is a real page-turner. You are fully engaged in her story. Her memoir is carefully, respectfully, and meticulously written. She is conscientious of her donor father’s privacy and that of his family’s once she locates him. Her memoir is very well researched too. Some of the strong points is in the research she does to educate the reader on the science and statistical information concerning sperm donors, DNA results, and the legal aspect of it all. Shapiro is open and vulnerable with her life on full display. She shows genuine emotions and real struggles with the truth of who she is. She asks soul searching questions such as “What makes a person a person?” (Pg.27). There are comments made that inspire introspection such as ” It is rare that you get an opportunity in life to stand outside yourself.” (Pg. 138). The book makes you think because this is a story that can happen to anyone especially now with all the technology available to search with.

On a final note, I’d like to talk about the cover jacket. I love cover art on books. The one she uses for Inheritance is hauntingly beautiful. Appropriate for the content of this book. It’s a good read to add to your collection.

Disclaimer: I write for fun and am in no way paid by anyone for my observations, musings, ramblings, or reviews.

Note: Above image was photographed by me. I mean seriously, taking a photo of a book is almost just as fun as writing about a book.

Gaining New Perspectives: A Short Review of the book “Five Feet Apart”

Five Feet Apart is a young adult fiction story about two 17 year-old teenage kids who both suffer from the terminal disease cystic fibrosis while fighting for a chance at life and love. The story was written by a trio of authors: Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Iaconis and published in 2018 by Simon & Schuster.

The main characters are Will Newman and Stella Grant, who pretty much spend their entire lives in and out of hospitals. They are isolated from the rest of the world due to the seriousness and complications that arise from their disease. Written through the stream of conscience of both Will and Stella, it makes the story more authentic because the feelings, emotions, reactions and responses are more true to the dynamic personalities of teenagers.

Will and Stella are both currently residing at St. Grace Hospital as the story begins. Stella is a bit of a control freak. Everything about her daily routine is meticulously organized. Will is a rebel and pretty much flies by the seat of his pants when it comes to his everyday care management. Both are kept in check by their caring and compassionate nurses Barb and Julie. Will and Stella both endure laborious and sometimes grueling medical intervention to stay alive. Stella is on a lung transplant list waiting. Will unfortunately contracted B-capacia and is unable to receive a lung transplant. Each cope with the disease and its limitations in their own way. Stella through diligence and consistency. Will through hope. The contrast of both characters is that Will is eager to live and Stella is eager to stay alive.

But as fate and creative writing would have it, Will and Stella form a friendship that turns into love. The only fly in the ointment is cystic fibrosis. Because the disease is highly contagious to fellow CF patients, the standard rule is they must be six feet apart from each other at all times. As the romance between the two blossoms it is surprisingly Stella who breaks the “six feet apart” rule. There is more to this story in the form of background history (mainly Stella’s) and rebellious adventures; some bold and some reckless but I don’t want to give too much away.

The concept of two ill-fated young lovers is not new or original. But two ill-fated lovers fighting a loosing battle with CF is. It is a story worth reading. The characters are like- able and authentic. Some of the strengths of this book is found in how knowledgeable the authors are about the disease itself. They were able to weave a believable and informative story out of the havoc caused by cystic fibrosis. Before reading “Five Feet Apart” my knowledge of cystic fibrosis and the affects it has on a person and their loved ones was non-existent. After reading the book, I gained a new awareness that was not there prior. For me, being able to learn and take away something from a novel makes it worth the time I spent reading it.

One final comment I have to say is; I absolutely love the cover art on the book’s front jacket. The design of the lungs and the color combinations makes it a lovely book to add to your collection.

Disclaimer- I write for fun and am no way paid by anyone for my observations, musings, ramblings or reviews.

Note: Image above was photographed by me. I mean seriously, taking a photo of a book is almost just as fun as writing about a book.

An Amateur’s Review of Poetry: Here’s to Hera Lindsay Bird

Hera Lindsay Bird’s self-titled debut book is not your run of the mill poetry book. Published in 2016 by Penguin Books, her confessional style of writing and creative use of similes has a way of grabbing your attention while heightening your curiosity into her world of words.

Hera Lindsay Bird is not an old-fashion poet. There is no rhyme or regular beat to her free-style flow. No closed off, rigid formats here. Instead, while reading her poems I find myself meandering through her stream of conscience as she touches on a wide range of emotions and experiences. Read her poems titled: “Everything Is Wrong” and “Having Already Walked Out On Everyone I Ever Loved”. Her poems are not for the faint of heart. They are real, raw, and edgy. Some are absolutely hilarious such as “Monica or “Write A Book” for example. Some can be raunchy like “Keats Is Dead So Fuck Me From Behind” others such as “Pain Imperatives” may have you wondering why you can’t write stuff this good.

It is a book of poems worth reading. Her content is live and colorful and cleverly written. She does not come across as arrogant or puffed up with self-importance. If you are looking for a fresh spin on an old craft, then pick yourself up a copy of Hera Lindsay Bird.

Disclaimer- I write for fun and am in no way paid by anyone for my observations, musings, ramblings or reviews.

Note: Image above was photographed by me. I mean seriously, taking a photo of a book is almost just as fun as writing about a book.

About Me Introductions

Welcome to my site. I’m so thrilled you stopped by. I’m Marisa and I love books! Like seriously love them, I’ve  got a small library going on in my house. I can’t even walk past a yard sale without stopping if I spot some sad little pile sitting on a table. Oh and the yearly book sale at the library? Don’t get me started. I’ve got a budget app on my iPhone that reminds me if I am about to go over my monthly reading allowance. I shop for books with the same passion that some women shop for shoes. There’s always room for one more pair on the shelf, (well….in my case it’s  usually two or three pairs).

I am an avid reader of pretty much anything. I do love fiction of various styles as well as historical nonfiction, memoirs and poetry. On my blog I will review some of the books that I have read. I am not paid by anyone for my reviews. I simply do this for the love of reading and to brush up on my writing skills. I welcome any suggestions, opinions or thoughts about a particular book as long as comments are not vulgar or demeaning to others in their expression. Looking forward to sharing my first review. Catch you later.


Note: Above picture came from the photography world of Pixabay.