January 1, 2012
Published by Penguin Group
Claire Bidwell Smith
The Rules of Inheritance
... On Friday night I drag Colin out to my first invite: an art opening for someone named Gottfried Helnwein, hosted by the actor Jason Lee. The gallery is in a warehouse part of town, and we walk nervously from the car to the entrance. A woman at the door scans her list for my name. Oh yes right here. Big Fancy Magazine. She smiles at me brightly when she says this and ushers us in. Helnwein's images are disturbing. People with bandaged heads and children lying immobile on the floor. We see Jason Lee standing in a corner talking to a group of people.
Penguin, Feb 2, 2012 - 304 pages
A 2012 Books for a Better Life nominee
A resonant memoir of the ways untimely good-byes echo through the years by a writer who has considered every nuance of grief.
At age fourteen, Claire Bidwell Smith-an only child- learned that both of her parents had cancer. The fear of becoming a family of one before she came of age compels Claire to make a series of fraught choices, set against the glittering backdrop of New York and Los Angeles - and the pall of regret. When the inevitable happens, and Claire is alone in the world, she is inconsolable at the revelation that suddenly she is no one's special person. It is only when Claire eventually falls in love, marries, and becomes a mother that she emerges from the fog of grief.
Defying a conventional framework, this story is told using the five stages of grief as a window into Smith's experience. As in the very best memoirs, the author's powerful and exquisite writing renders personal events into universal experience.
Bibliographic information
Title The Rules of Inheritance
Author Claire Bidwell Smith
Publisher Penguin, 2012
ISBN 1101559861, 9781101559864
Length 304 pages
Biography & Autobiography,
Personal Memoirs

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