The Rules of Inheritance: A Memoir

( 20 )

Overview

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:...

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The Rules of Inheritance: A Memoir

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Overview

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.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“Gritty, poetic, and illuminating.” —O Magazine

“A brilliant memoir.” —BookReporter

“A powerful, moving memoir of overcoming grief and loss.” —Booklist, Starred Review

“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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452298873
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/24/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 183,218
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

 Claire Bidwell Smith is a therapist specializing in grief. She lives in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 11, 2012

    A brave, beautiful memoir that draws the reader in

    The morning this book was released I found myself reading the whole thing, unable to put it down. This book is quite simply one young woman's journey through the heartbreaking loss of both of her parents at an age when she was still unsure of who she was and who she would become. Claire's powerful and poetic words weave a story that draws the reader in. Several times I was overcome with emotion and had to pause as my eyes blurred with tears. In the end what struck me the most about this book was the powerful simplicity of pure human connection coupled with both the strength and fragility of the human spirit. Claire's tenacity as she works through the stages of grief is both brave and beautiful. This book is a truly amazing piece of art that has the ability to touch lives and inspire others to find their own path through grief to a place of healing.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2012

    riveting memoir full of raw truth and healing

    Claire's memoir is an amazing story of a young girl who's life is touched by cancer when she is a teenager through her early twenties, loosing both mother and father to the disease by the time she's 22.

    Through painful paths, relationships, living and rebelling this coming of age story tells the story of a woman who is coming into her life with the heavy weight of doing it alone. It will rock you to your core and in the end give you a sense of healing. I highly highly recommend this book!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 29, 2011

    Stunningly Good!

    Despite my intention to let it wait, instead of too much turkey, I devoured an advance copy of Claire¿s book, in stolen moments over half of a family-filled holiday weekend. ¿Edgy¿. ¿Gritty¿. ¿Poignant¿. ¿Brave¿. ¿Remarkable¿. ¿Raw¿. ¿Searingly-honest¿. ¿Un-put-downable¿. These words are sure to be used over and over again in the rave reviews inevitably to come for this remarkable piece of writing. Those familiar with her blog may well assume ¿Ah, I read along as this whole thing was unfolding. I know the story. I know the ending.¿ But whether we happen to know Claire or not, we know the ending ¿ she tells us herself part way through the beginning. Unlike many other blog-to-book authors, Claire has managed to transform her story from as-it-happened to as-it-needed-to-be-written in a manner which clearly also transformed the author herself. We witnesses to the story as it unfolded, might not have realized that we were witnessing another metamorphosis entirely. The cliché ¿things happen for a reason¿ is ¿trite but true¿¿for a reason. Who would Claire have been had this story not been hers? We will never know, nor will she. But those who discover and tumble along through her riveting account of this amazing journey will be forever seared by the ¿¿realness¿ of the experience. This memoir simply will not wait. No one who loves good writing should wait to read it.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2012

    Put on your "Must Read List" for 2012!

    This was one of the extremely moving and honest books I have read in a long time. It is a must read for anyone who is looking to be inspired and find strength. There is no words to describe how moving it is to read about loss and love from such an honest and vulnerable author. I have known Claire for years and it she continues to amaze me with everything she writes. This book truly inspired me to be a better friend, daughter, sister, and mother and to appreciate everything I have.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    Courageous


    An amazing writer with a courageous story.
    This would be a great read for bookclubs,anyone who is grieving, or college psychology courses.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    Sad, heartbreaking sad, depressing

    If you want to read a sad, depressing book, this is for you. You will cry and cry. I am an adult woman, my mom died ten years ago. It was awful. But what this young woman went through broke my heart. I wish I never read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    I just happened to pick up this book by accident. I am so glad I

    I just happened to pick up this book by accident. I am so glad I did...What an amazing, truthful, and beautifully written book !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    Incredible

    For any woman who has lost her mother, this is a healing missive. Beautifully painful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    Nicely written

    Very well written. Heart wrenching story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    Claire Bidwell Smith’s stunning debut, The Rules of Inheri

    Claire Bidwell Smith’s stunning debut, The Rules of Inheritance, is a powerful and gripping memoir. When Claire is the tender age of fourteen, both of her parents are diagnosed with cancer within months of each other. As her mother succumbs to the disease while Claire is in college, her life comes crashing in around her.

    The story is told not in a linear fashion, but rather through the five stages of grief. The author, with tremendous honesty and bravery, examines each stage. As we travel with Claire on this journey, which is simultaneously heart wrenching and inspiring, the reader is forever changed.

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever experienced the loss of a loved one. The writing is brilliant and her story is gripping. The Rules of Inheritance wills stay with you long after you read the final, poignant page.

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  • Posted April 2, 2012

    The Rules of Inheritance is an honest, at times heart-breaking,


    The Rules of Inheritance is an honest, at times heart-breaking, and ultimately motivating memoir of a young woman’s loss and her journey to begin to put her life together. While it may be viewed as a passage through the stages of grief, I found that to be a mistaken assumption. To me it represented an amazing story of an eighteen year old adrift, who finally finds her place in life despite significant odds that she would fall victim to a much worse fate. Ultimately, she even writes a book about it all, proving to us that she is a survivor. Thoughtful, honest and revealing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    Depressing and Sad

    Has i known this book was a memoir when i purchased on my e-reader I would have known better than to expect a happy or enlightening conclusion! The author takes on a miserable journey of the illness and subsequent deaths of her parents-we find this out very early on and have to endure the exteme sadness of her situation time and time again, The out of sequencing of the timeline makes it worse, like a macabre Groundhog Day, For me this only brought up the extreme sadness I experienced when my own parents died-With nothing to cheer for I just slogged through to the last two or three pages where the author is happily married with a new child, There is no where near the balance needed to make a reader endure such sadness page after page after page-You owe me another 200 pages where I get to see that in the end you are okay and how/why this occurs! The writer is an exellent one and maybe she needed to write this story for herself, Personally I think she has the talent to attract a large audience but this book did not demonstrate it at all-

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  • Posted February 23, 2012

    very repetitive

    This memoir was quite boring. The author could not stop grieving over the death of her parents,smokes heavily, becomes an alcoholic then finds happiness with a new man. I did not like the way she jumped around time- wise in this book. It started out strong but then became very difficult to finish....but I did.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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