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The Rules of Inheritance: A Memoir

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The Rules of Inheritance: A Memoir

February 2012

THE RULES OF INHERITANCE by Claire Bidwell Smith is a brilliant memoir about a young woman who at age 14 learns that both of her parents have cancer. A huge burden at any age, but even more difficult for an adolescent. Her choice the night her mother dies will haunt her, her father’s death will be a lonely vigil, and who she becomes between these two experiences and how she emerges after them is one powerful story.

It’s written in a non-linear style using the five stages of grief as a lens to look inside Claire’s emotions. In this way, readers see Claire’s reactions to different situations from the aspect of each of these milestone stages. I admire her ability to look back in this way, and her brutal honesty about the person she was during these years is admirable. She is not rewriting history and making it prettier with the knowledge she has now.

Claire is now a grief counselor herself, and her compassion given her experience translates beautifully here. I can see myself thinking about this book for a long time.

The Rules of Inheritance: A Memoir
by Claire Bidwell Smith

  • Publication Date: December 24, 2012
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Plume
  • ISBN-10: 0452298873
  • ISBN-13: 9780452298873