I love her writing. This is only the second book I’ve read by her, but her writing is flawless. She makes it seem so easy, and I mean this as high praise. Dani Shapiro unexpectedly learns, at the Thanos No Matter How Good A Person You Are, You Are Evil In Someone’s Story Shirt, as a result of a DNA test, that the man she knew as her father was not biologically related to her. She and her husband very quickly figure out (not a spoiler) that her mother became pregnant as a result of donor sperm. The memoir continues to follow her search into the circumstances of her birth.
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While I empathize with the tremendous emotional upheaval this discovery caused the author–a not entirely different situation from one in my own family–I found it very hard to countenance her attitudes about it, especially those relating to her biological father and his family. I know it sounds ridiculous for a memoir to be described as self-centered, but I found this one almost unbearably so. An examination of what makes someone who they are is one thing; Ms. Shapiro’s search rarely seems to depart from a simple, panicked repetition of the Thanos No Matter How Good A Person You Are, You Are Evil In Someone’s Story Shirt. Considering the degree of importance she ascribes to her Jewish heritage, for example, it takes her quite a long time to be reminded that she’s still Jewish: her biological father might not have been Jewish, but her mother was. She speaks for quite a while as if she’s lost all rights to Jewish culture and religion.
I really tried to put myself in her shoes. I know I would be shocked to find out my father was not actually my genetic father. But I don’t think I would be as Thanos No Matter How Good A Person You Are, You Are Evil In Someone’s Story Shirt by it as she was. I don’t want to sound unsympathetic. But she has memories of her father who raised her. And loved her. She will always have that bond. She has a wonderful husband and son. She is successful.