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The Rules of Inheritance: A Memoirby Claire Bidwell Smith
Synopses & Reviews
A 2012 Books for a Better Life nominee.
A powerful and searingly honest memoir about a young woman who loses her family but finds herself in the process.
In this astonishing debut, Claire Bidwell Smith, an only child, is just fourteen years old when both of her charismatic parents are diagnosed with cancer. What follows is a coming-of-age story that is both heartbreaking and exhilarating. As Claire hurtles towards loss she throws herself at anything she thinks might help her cope with the weight of this harsh reality: boys, alcohol, traveling, and the anonymity of cities like New York and Los Angeles. By the time she is twenty-five years old they are both gone and Claire is very much alone in the world.
Claire's story is less of a tragic tale and more of a remarkable lesson on how to overcome some of life's greatest hardships. Written with suspense and style, and bursting with love and adventure, The Rules of Inheritance vividly captures the deep grief and surprising light of a young woman forging ahead on a journey of loss that humbled, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
“Gritty, poetic, and illuminating.” O Magazine
“A brilliant memoir.” BookReporter
“Vivid, real and gripping.” Blackbook Magazine
“Forget everything you think you know about grief. Smith’s memoir is the most honest book I've ever read about how loss unmoors, challenges and changes you, written in prose so exquisite it could be poetry. Dazzlingly brave and absolutely true.” Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
“Gorgeously written, compulsively readable, and heartbreakingly true, The Rules of Inheritance is a small masterpiece of honesty. Anyone who's lost a parent will find themselves in this story. I couldn't stop reading it, and was sorry when it had to end." Hope Edelman, author of Motherless Daughters
About the Author
Claire Bidwell Smith is a therapist specializing in grief. She lives in Los Angeles.
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