Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Rules of Inheritance – BlogHer Book Club Review

Those of us who have lost a parent at a young age know it leaves a hole that never quite heals. Claire Bidwell Smith’s memoir, The Rules of Inheritance, is a journey through grief. From little girl lost to woman who found her way, because of or in spite of a great sense of loss and longing.

Smith lost both of her parents to cancer before she was what most of us would consider a real-live grown up. You might be thinking “Yes, well, lots of people’s parents die when they’re young. And… ?” And maybe without so many shared experiences (right down to surgery during pregnancy and terror that went with it) I wouldn’t have found her story so eminently relatable. But I did.

The self-discovery that came through in Smith’s writing was unmistakable. She was learning about herself right along with us. Frequently she’d pause and say “This is part of my narrative”, one of those moments that define who we are. From the fresh wound of losing her mother and then her father, to falling into the pit of despair and on to beginning the circle anew by becoming a parent herself, we can’t help but find pieces of our own narrative. I know I will take more time to mark those moments, happy or sad, that shape who I am from now on. For that I am grateful.

For more discussion on The Rules of Inheritance, follow the discussion at the BlogHer Book Club.

This is a compensated review as part of the BlogHer Book Club. All opinions expressed are my own.