OK, I'm already digging this BlogHer Book Club gig. I've read two new books in 3 weeks.
The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith is a memoir of an only child who lost both of her parents to cancer before she was 25. Cheery, right? Not a book I would have chosen on my own, but I am really glad I read it.
I was wary when I started, because we too, are older parents to an only daughter and I do worry about leaving her "alone in the world" when we're gone. I also don't do well with sad books - they tend to stick with me and I internalize more than I should.
This book is really well-written and despite the weighty subject matter, very easy to read. I breezed through it in three days because I really did want to know what happened to her. My big DUH moment was realizing halfway through that it was a *memoir*, not fiction. Somehow I missed that detail, and reading the first half had me thinking that no one's life was this depressing, and that the main character just could not catch a break, and wow this book is *such* a downer.
My perspective completely changed when I realized it was a memoir. Halfway through, the author gives you glimpses into her later (and better) life. She finds the love of her life, gets married, has a kid. I appreciated her slow and arduous climb out of grief. Smith is a talented writer who pulled me right along with her during her journey.
I didn't love the way the book was organized - it was divided into parts according to the stages of grief, and then within each section was a series of "scenes" from different times in Claire's life, jumping back and forth through time. I'm a linear thinker, so I found the timeline-jumping very distracting. I thought the same thing about The Time Traveler's Wife, too. I realize that this organization was very deliberate as the stages of grief are not linear either.
The Kindle version had some weird formatting issues - but I may have received a special review copy, so those may be fixed in the "real" version.
I'd recommend this book for anyone looking to expand their horizons. It's definitely not a shiny happy "vacation book" but it is enlightening, and possibly would help folks be a better friend to someone who's grieving.
I was compensated for this review by BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are totally my own.