Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
"It turns out that it is possible to live an entire life - even an examined life, to the degree that I had relentlessly examined mine - and still not know the truth of oneself. In the end, it wasn't words but numbers I stared at disbelievingly on a computer screen that smashed down the door and flooded every corner, every crevasse, with a blinking light.... All my life I had known there was a secret. What I hadn't known: the secret was me.”
At the age of 54, Dani Shapiro was an accomplished author, wife and mother who one day decided to take an ancestry DNA test and compare her results with that of her stepsister. What follows is the gripping account of how the author navigates the world upon discovering that the man who raised her all her life - the man she had always believed to be her father - was not. This memoir was a captivating look at what defines a family and what happens when you discover that everything you believed to be true about yourself and your lineage is a lie.
Shapiro's writing is superb and her ability to convey her emotions in such a way that you feel everything that she is feeling as you are reading kept me completely captivated. On several occasions, I had to remind myself that this was a true story about someone's life and not a riveting, fictional mystery. I held my breath along with her as she drafted the very first letter to send to her biological father, and then I held it again when she nervously read his response. I can not remember the last time that I read a story so compelling and I have been recommending this book to everyone in the weeks since I finished it. Many thanks to Knopf publishing for sending this gorgeous complimentary copy to me in exchange for my honest review.