Nursing Book Club
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love by Dani Shapiro
DNA testing unearths family secrets
The widespread availability of commercial DNA testing is another modern scientific wonder that we’re already starting to take for granted. It’s become routine: Just spit in a tube, send it away and wait for the report. I’ve done it myself.
Such testing is now so easy and commonplace that we may be caught off-guard by the potentially life-alerting results. What you thought would be a harmless way to learn what countries your ancestors came from might instead reveal that your family’s stories were just that: stories.
In her new memoir, Inheritance, author Dani Shapiro talks about how an offhand comment by her mother sent her down the rabbit hole, beginning a strange odyssey of genetic testing, lies and family secrets.
Shapiro’s quest began with her mother’s strange remark that Dani “was conceived” in Philadelphia, a city where her parents do not live. It didn’t take long for Shapiro to bring her journalistic skills to bear on the question and discover that she was conceived through artificial insemination, something to which she is sure her Orthodox Jewish father would have only reluctantly agreed.