The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith

Released: February 2nd 2012

I take out my camera and set it up to capture the profundity of the moment. In the grainy black-and-white, I am leaning back against the wall, one knee pulled to my chest, a cigarette between my fingers. My head is turned to one side and my hair is short around my ears and my tattoo showing. I'll come across this photo for years to come and it will never cease to give me pause, instantly transporting me to the first time I realized that no one was ever going to save me.

Words like gripping, heartbreaking, and any other emotional terms can only begin to describe this memoir. Words that mean this book is going to make you feel, care, and cry your eyes out. I knew I put myself in it when I wanted to get this book so many months ago. This is the book I've been eyeing on NetGalley. When I first discovered NetGalley I saw this book and wanted it bad. When I finally got a NetGalley account months later I was worried that since the book was already released that I wouldn't be able to receive it for review. I just went for it one day and there it was. My e-mail telling me I received the book that had made me want to get a NetGalley account in the first place. It was a happy day.

I've never read a memoir before but after this I'll have to read more. I've got a list already. What made me want this book was of course the plot. I really don't know what's wrong with me but I think about death a lot... like an abnormal amount. Claire loses her mother at 18 and I realized this towards the end actually that she was my same age now when she lost her mother and she took ten years to grieve. Since I have a business class I know that you are given two weeks after someone in your family dies from your job which I've always thought was ridiculous. I'd be a wreck if my mother suddenly dies. I couldn't face the world after only two weeks so that also drew me to the story. How she actually took so long to heal. 
I realized that when I was eighteen, it wasn't just my mother who died but a part of me as well. Something happened inside me. Something failed to continue. Some part of me just stopped. Stopped growing. Stopped imagining. Stopped becoming. 
It was like, without my mother, I couldn't possibly go on. I couldn't grow up, become a woman, do things that she would never know about, go places she'd never been, think things I couldn't tell her.
The book goes at different ages of her life. At eighteen this girl is the complete opposite of me. She's had sex and drinks so much. I hear about people who do that and I don't understand. Why would you want that life? Right now it's kind of hard for me to continue because I feel bad. Reviewing this book is like reviewing Claire's life and that isn't my business but I'll try to write freely about what I thought about the book and the different subjects. Anyways as you could tell from me stating that this book is about her healing from her mother's death you know you are in it for the long haul. You need to make sure you are able to handle this book before reading it because I know that some wouldn't be able to. This is someone's life not fiction. This book cannot be read in one sitting and I don't recommend doing that either. It's too much at one time. 

Colin. This is the essence of a bad relationship. She hung on to him because he knew her pain and loneliness but also she was afraid of him and I wanted to just grab her and go. And then towards the end she says she feels damaged and I was like sweetheart no you're not. I wanted to hug her then. She talks so freely about what she experienced. Everything is in this book. All the pain she had bottled up. I wonder what her friends and family thought when they read this? Probably proud of what she's become but I'll get to that later. She even writes about an abortion she had and I thought I was going to have to stop. I'm glad that it was only one.... that sounds so bad. I really believe that no one should have an abortion unless you will either die if it's born or you are raped. People who do that I've always felt were selfish. See why I feel bad writing this review? I didn't have to put that in there but it stuck with me. 
I'm alone now. All alone. No more men, no more alcohol, no more self-destructing, no more hiding.
I am so glad that she realized the joy of motherhood and now she is happy with her husband and daughter. You'll be rooting for her all the way because in the end after her parents and her friend's lives fading she continued on and she did it. She was able to finally let go. She became a grief counselor which I love since I am thinking of going into counseling. I like to find books either fiction or nonfiction where there is a counselor in it. Though I could never do grief. I think children are more in my path in whatever I decide to do. The way she let everything out in the open, the way she jumped from one life (age) to the next, and just the way she wrote the book was astonishing. It was captivating. I absolutely loved it. Thank you for being my first memoir and thank you for being so strong Claire. You deserve everything in the end.

I can't really say anymore just that this book was indeed fantastic and is one of those books that'll always stick with me no matter what. I know I didn't do the book justice in this review but know that you will not regret it when you turn that last page. I can't really explain anymore how much this book moved me. There are no more words.