Readin’ – The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith

The Rules of Inheritance is the non-fictional account of the author’s journey through Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) as she deals with the terminal illnesses and eventual deaths of her parents while she was a very young girl and woman.

Smith bares her soul for us as she devotes exactly three chapters to each of Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief and moves back and forth from her acting out as a young adolescent and teenager to how she coped as a young adult.  She doesn’t hide or justify her use of alcohol, toxic relationships, and aimless wanderings through life.  She just lays it out there for us to see.

It’s raw and touching and poignant.  My favorite part was where she realized a positive that by losing her mother first, she was provided with the opportunity to get know her father on a level she never would have if it had happened in reverse.  She was also able to care for her father in the ways that she could not care for her mother.

I am a firm believer that we are who we are because of our life experiences.  While no one should have to go through the loss of their loving parents starting at age 14, those whom Smith now serves benefit from hers and in this way she is able to share her inheritance – the love of caring parents.

As a side note, I was selected to do this book review the same week that I found out that my dear, sweet brother-in-law was struck by a diagnosis of terminal cancer.  As I struggle with my own emotions regarding this, I was comforted by Smith’s bravery in sharing hers with us.

If you wish to read more about this author and book you can visit the BlogHer site here.

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

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