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The Rules of Inheritanceby Claire Bidwell Smith
Synopses & Reviews
Claire Bidwell Smith follows The Rules of Inheritance—soon to be a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence—with After This, an exploration of the afterlife that is part personal, part prescriptive—an invitation on a journey into the unknown.
In her therapy practice specializing in grief, Smith confronts the quandary—what happens next? In a dynamic five-part structure, she answers the unanswerable questions—Will I ever see my parents again? Can my parents see me now, even though they are gone? Will I remain connected to my own daughters when I die?—for herself and for all of us. Chronicling our steps along the path that bridges this world and the next, she undergoes past-life regressions and sessions with mediums and psychics and immerses herself in the ceremonies of organized religion and the rigor of scientific experiments.
After This is unique in the power of the personal that underlies the books message: What we believe about what happens next affects everything about how we live—and love—right now.
"In this deeply reflective, anguished memoir, L.A. journalist and psychotherapist Smith revisits the staggered death of her two parents from cancer as steps in the process of grieving. Using epigraphs from the seminal work on death and dying from Elisabeth KÃ¼bler-Ross in naming her sections (e.g., 'Denial,' 'Bargaining'), Smith moves back and forth in time to explore the intensity of losing her parents, from her mother's death after a long bout with colon cancer in 1996, just a few weeks into Smith's freshman year at Howland College, in Vermont, to the death of her father in hospice in 2003, when she was 25. The author fashions her detailed story with an unflinching directness that is both riveting and monotonous, her paragraphs separated by a space as if to allow one to breathe between them. At age 18, she was barely away from the 'drama' of her Atlanta home life, where her mother had been in treatment intermittently over four years while her much older father had tried to keep the family together, when painful news of her mother's death struck: Smith hadn't made it home that night; she had stayed over with a boy. The guilt and anger propelled her to quit Howland, move to New York, then L.A. with the boyfriend, Colin, recognizing after six years that she wasn't in love. Smith's prose possesses a blistering power, rendering this youthful memoir an affecting journey into loss." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In After This, acclaimed author, and therapist Claire Bidwell Smith confronts the question she encounters every day in private practice—what happens after we die?
In an exploration of the afterlife that is part personal, part prescriptive—Smith invites us on her journey into the unknown. She wonders: How do we grieve our loved ones without proof that they live on? Will we ever see them again? Can they see us now, even though they are gone
Chronicling our steps along the path that bridges this world and the next, Smith undergoes past-life regressions and sessions with mediums and psychics and immerses herself in the ceremonies of organized religion and the rigor of scientific experiments to try and find the answers.
Drawing on both her personal losses, recounted in her memoir The Rules of Inheritance, as well as her background working in hospice as a bereavement counselor, Smith attempts to show how exploring the afterlife can have a positive impact on the grief process.
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.
About the Author
Claire Bidwell Smith is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. She writes for The Huffington Post, Blackbook, Yoga Journal, Chicago Public Radio, and the award-winning blog clairebidwellsmith.com.
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