A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

Book - 2019
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"The acclaimed and beloved author of Hourglass now gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets--a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she made last year about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden the story of her own life"--
Publisher: New York, New York : Alfred A. Knopf, ©2019.
ISBN: 9781524732714
Characteristics: 247 pages ;,22 cm.


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Jul 14, 2019

I don't understand the positive commentary on this book.
There was a great deal of pointless dissonance in this book that made me feel that the writer was self indulgent.
Sure you didn't have the dad you thought you had but at least you had a dad.
When seen at coldly this book is indulgent.
She's just lucky that the sperm donor was a nice man who took a stranger who is genetically linked to him into his circle of family. I would say he'd been heroic.

I maybe just missing the point of the book, but isn't a family made by those who tolerate you even if you aren't what they want in a blood relative?

Why even go to the sperm donor in this situation?

SurreyLibrarian Jun 06, 2019

-Submitted by Jamie-
Many people in the last few years have inadvertently opened a “pandora’s box” by taking a DNA test. Some take it for curiosity, some take it because they were given it as a gift, and why not? Then to find out that biologically they are not who they think they are can be quite a shock. This author has to come to terms that what she pictured as her “family unit” is an altogether different picture. Her journey of discovery as to the how, the why, and what to do now; is one of emotion, and trepidation. Privacy issues, religious questions and ethical mysteries are rampant. This memoir is a fair, honest recollection of the process this author took to make sense of her personal nature vs nurture situation and subsequent identity crisis.

May 31, 2019

What does the reader get when family secrets and medically compromised
Practitioners collide ? An enticing ,very readable work of non -fiction.
On its own, a good story.
In the hands of a gifted writer- literary bonus points.

May 17, 2019

Extraordinary (even if it's increasingly common), understated, and very moving story of author Dani Shapiro finding out that her late father was not her biological father. She approaches it both as a journalist and as a memoir writer. My brothers found out that our dad was not their biological father, so I had a strong personal connection with the book.

May 14, 2019

Beautiful written story. Read it in 1 day.

Dani's story is going to be more common with the advent of DNA testing for family history. Nevertheless a secret is unfurled here as Dani struggles with who she is and where she has come from. Recently the author announced that the movie rights have been purchased to make a film.

May 08, 2019

Shapiro's unique story of her true genetic roots is exclusive to her and is told with its synchronistic discoveries. She took us along through her emotions and shock as all is revealed. Perhaps, for me, there was a lot of story compared to detail. Who are we, really?

May 03, 2019

This memoir is deeply felt and tells a riveting story of a woman who discovers that her relatives are not. That is, she is not genetically related to the people she thought she was. This causes her to confront the fact that her parents deceived her for most of her life. Not easy. But she also learns about and meets her genetic father. Shows the perils of the DNA testing services. Don't decide to get a genetic evaluation unless you are prepared to have your world upended.

Apr 19, 2019

A memoir from a woman who discovers in mid life that her paternity is different from what she grew up believing and this information sends her life into a bit of a tailspin. This book chronicles her discovery, her quest for the answers she desperately needs and the resolution of the whole experience. It's a great choice for someone who loves to read about other people's life journeys or for anyone interested in genealogy.

PimaLib_AmyK Apr 07, 2019

With the current trend of researching one’s roots (, “Finding Your Roots” on PBS, etc.), this is a timely book. Dani Shapiro has written a number of memoirs (I enjoyed “Slow Motion”), but this one may have the most shocking twist—or at least it seems that way. As a lark, Shapiro sends in a DNA sample to and receives the shock of her life; the man she thought was her biological father turns out to not be her father, and almost as quickly, Shapiro finds out who her biological father is. This reads almost like a thriller, and also leaves the reader pondering the same questions Shapiro does: Just because someone isn’t your biological parent, does that make them “less than”? Is biology stronger than nurture? What I found most interesting is that many people in Shapiro’s life suspected she was not her father’s daughter, and even Shapiro herself writes that she suspected the same, albeit subconsciously. Hindsight is 20/20, right? This was a quick read, something I always appreciate.

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