I had the opportunity to participate in the BlogHer Book Club once again. When I first received the book, I did not know what to expect. There was a small blurb about the book included in the correspondence from BlogHer and it looked like it was not going to be light reading like the last book I read for the book club.
The book is The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith. It is a beautifully written memoir, broken into five parts, the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Claire loses both of her parents to cancer before she is the age of thirty. Both of her parents are diagnosed with cancer when she is fourteen years old. The loss of her parents shapes her teens and twenties.
The story is a heart-wrenching account of Claire’s loss of her parents and how she copes with the loss. The book is honest and real. I cried through several chapters, as I felt what she must have felt through so many of her life experiences. Claire’s recollections are raw and gritty—as she grows from wounded, scared, and alone, to giving, confident, and incredibly happy. I loved this book!
The book is not written in chronological order. It is written with a series of vignettes that fit within the context of Claire’s grief, which does not happen in chronological order of Claire’s life. At first, I had a difficult time following the format, however as the book Claire recounted her experiences of her teens and twenties, losing her parents. It all came together by the middle of the book and made perfect sense by the time I reached the last word on the last page.
The best part of the book was the last part, Acceptance. While this book does not end with a fairy tale ending, it is a beautiful ending that still continues in real life on her blog. Claire, nonetheless, overcomes the difficult times of her life, finding peace, happiness, and embracing her own family (her husband, her daughter, her new in-laws, and her extended family). She accepts the losses in her life and finds peace in helping others with their grief.
Claire now works as a therapist, specializing in grief and lives in Los Angeles with her daughter and husband. I have a great respect for the woman Claire has become and would highly recommend this book—just make sure you are ready with a box of tissue!
Disclosure:This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.