When I picked up the book Rules of Inheritance, I knew that it was going to be a heavy one, focused on author Claire Bidwell Smith’s journey to and through her parents’ deaths. I was expecting to cry – and I did at points – but I was also expecting to feel a certain level of distance from it. I haven’t experienced the loss of either of my parents, thankfully, and this isn’t the first time I’ve read a book by a blogger turned author. Rarely do bloggers translate well to book format, even when it’s an enjoyable blog, in my experience.
This one actually worked well. It wasn’t a compilation of her blog writing, walking us through the story one day and month at a time. That is the story we’re used to hearing, but Claire Bidwell Smith uses a different tack altogether, one that makes her story far more unique and more powerful. Her story is broken into five stages of grief and walks through her experience. It isn’t written chronologically, but her grief and pain are etched painfully on the pages as she shares her parents’ diagnoses and subsequent deaths and her handling – or not handling – of them, sometimes in not the healthiest of ways.
As she moves into acceptance, you can really see how these events have shaped her as a person. It’s how the events – from her helping her father track his WWII background to moving to NYC with a boyfriend – have turned her into the person she is today. Her grief isn’t over, nor will it probably ever be. The novel moves powerfully through this.
Over at BlogHer Book Club, we’ll be talking about this book for the next several weeks. Whether you’ve read the book or not, come join the conversation. This week, we’re discussing the events in our lives that have defined us. What have been your defining moments?
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of “The Rules of Inheritance” as part of the BlogHer Book Club. I was compensated for participating in this campaign, but as always, all opinions remain my own.