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Publisher's Summary

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 14, 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 transforms personal events into universal experience.

©2012 Claire Bidwell Smith (P)2012 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Rules of Inheritance

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An honest view of the wild ride of grief

After having recently lost my mother at a relatively young age of 63, grief hit me like a ton of bricks. The Rules of Inheritance was recommended by a friend knowing I was searching for all coping mechanisms I could get my hands on. This book was a nighty help. It made my responses feel “normal” and my process shared. It helped me feel less alone. Moments were brought forth in the hospice experience that aided in putting words to the same emotions I felt in that time. Plus it gives hope that, one day, the grief will lift and only the scar will remain.

1 person found this helpful

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A memoir of grief, coping and life.

So many good parts...Explaining the different ways her parents died and sharing with the audience that there might be a better way to die if given the choice. sharing of her parents' lives --- her mom's food designing and her father's wartime memories all add depth to the story.

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Hard and beautiful

As a grown woman who lost both of my parents at a young age, I crave an honest, vulnerable reflection of how tough the loss of both your parents can be. Claire captured her own struggle of life and grief in this book beautifully— and in such a raw, real way that I could nearly relate to all of it. It’s cathartic to read such words and I am grateful! Thank you, Claire!

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Amazing

I loved this book so very much and it will stay with me forever. Thank you for sharing your story, Claire.

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Total frustration!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This is a very poorly written story with the author trying to create interest by mixing up the time periods. This created a disconnect about the real theme of the book and made some chapters seem like copycats of other books.

Would you ever listen to anything by Claire Bidwell Smith again?

No

How could the performance have been better?

The performance was too monotone and just sounded tired.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent Book

Would you consider the audio edition of The Rules of Inheritance to be better than the print version?

I loved having the author as the narrator.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Rules of Inheritance?

The entire book was full of memorable moments.

Any additional comments?

This was one of the best memoirs I have ever read. I couldn't wait to listen to more and thought the book was beautiful. I loved it.

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