The Rules of Inheritance: A Memoir

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Penguin, Feb 2, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
4 Reviews
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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jen.e.moore - LibraryThing

I was really quite enjoying this until the end. "I went through all these horrible things but I turned into a perfectly normal middle-class married mother - and you can to!" is not really the message I was looking for, if I was looking for one at all. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - alexann - LibraryThing

By the time Claire Bidwell Smith was 25 years old, she had lost both of her parents to cancer--the ugly kind of cancer that reduces its victims to unrecognizable skeletons, wracked with pain. This ... Read full review


Chapter Two 1992 IM FOURTEEN YEARS
Part Two Anger
Chapter Five 2000 I AM TWENTYTWO YEARS
Chapter Seven 2003 I AM TWENTYFIVE YEARS
Part Four Depression
Chapter Eleven 1999 IM TWENTYONE YEARS
Chapter Twelve 2003 IM TWENTYFIVE YEARS

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About the author (2012)

Claire Bidwell Smith is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. She writes for The Huffington Post, Blackbook, Yoga Journal, Chicago Public Radio, and the award-winning blog

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