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The Rules of Inheritance - Claire Bidwell Smith

The Rules of Inheritance


Published: 22nd February 2012
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Claire Bidwell Smith, a fourteen-year-old only child, learns that both her parents have cancer. The fear of becoming a family of one compels her 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 later, when Claire falls in love, marries and becomes a mother, that she emerges from the fog of grief.

Using the five stages of grief as a window onto her personal experience, Claire Bidwell Smith has written a powerful memoir that is at once exquisite and profound.

'The Rules of Inheritance serves as a reminder that we are not only capable of descending to the depths of human experience, but that we can rise back up again. It's a great book.' - James Frey.

1996, I'm eighteen.

My father's voice is tinny through the phone line. I am in the booth at the bottom of the stairs in Howland dorm. It is my freshman year of college. Claire, he is saying, your mother is back in the hospital. It is a Tuesday. My mother was just here two days ago, visiting for parents' weekend, and I am immediately confused as to why she is in the hospital. Claire, are you listening to me?

I take a deep breath.

I'm here, Dad.

Listen. I don't know how to say this. The doctors, they don't think there is anything else they can do. The cancer is too far gone. What do you mean?

I don't like the words 'too far gone'. They make me think of a ship lost at sea.

As I listen to my father run through the details of my mother's hospital visit, the previous weekend replays in my head on fastforward, scenes flashing by in blurred succession.My mother had arrived on Friday. We drove along the winding mountain roads together, Vermont like a foreign country to both of us, the autumn trees like bursts of flame—orange and gold and deep, deep red. There was a weird silence between us, a space that had never been there before.

The two months since I'd been at college were as long as we'd been apart in my whole life.

My mother worked hard to close the new distance, acting chipper, and I tried to fill the gap too, telling her about my classes and my roommate, Christine. That night we ate dinner at an Italian restaurant in town. She ordered two glasses of wine, let me have one. Around the room two or three other students sat at tables with their parents, and for no real reason I felt embarrassed for all of us...

ISBN: 9781921758997
ISBN-10: 1921758996
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 22nd February 2012
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.4  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.36
Edition Number: 1