A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love
WHEN: Published by Knopf January 17, 2019
WHERE: The author lives in Connecticut.
WHY: This beautifully written, thought-provoking genealogical mystery will captivate readers
from the very first pages.
“In this fascinating memoir, Dani Shapiro writes of how she questioned her identity when a DNA test revealed that she was not, as she believed she was, 100% Jewish. Shapiro grew up in an Orthodox family in suburban New Jersey; blonde-haired and blue-eyed, she often felt out of place in a family of dark-haired Ashkenazi Jews, yet she had shrugged off the physical differences.
“But when she got the DNA test results, the then-54-year-old began researching her family history, and within months she unraveled a narrative leading back to the 1960s and the early days of artificial insemination. Her own parents had died, but now, with the support of her husband and son, she discovered her biological father, a doctor from Portland. Shapiro realized that her childhood, her ancestral lineage, and the foundation of her world were based on deception. ‘What potent combination of lawlessness, secrecy, desire, shame, greed, and confusion had led to my conception?’ Shapiro writes.
“With thoughtful candor, she explores the ethical questions surrounding sperm donation, the consequences of DNA testing, and the emotional impact of having an uprooted religious and ethnic identity.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, a starred review
“Shapiro recognized that what she had experienced
was ‘a great story’—one that has inspired her best book.
“Before focusing on memoirs, Shapiro drew from her family life in her fiction. In her latest, she delves into an origin story that puts everything she previously believed and wrote about herself in fresh perspective.” —KIRKUS, a starred review
“Page after page, Shapiro displays a disarming honesty and an acute desire to know the unknowable.” —Carol Haggas, in a starred review for BOOKLIST