Losing someone you love is akin to a deep physical wound. It will eventually heal but there will always be a scar.
Be warned: this is a three-hankie book. At age 14, both of the author’s parents were diagnosed with cancer. Her mother died when Smith was 18 and a freshman in college; her father died when she was 25. What’s remarkable is the lack of self-pity and clear-eyed analysis of her own grief, which will resonate with anyone who has ever lost a dear one. Smith eventually became a grief counselor with hospice services, and I have no doubt she is an amazing resource for her clients. What makes this memoir different from the many existing “I lost my parents/brother/sister/husband” titles is Smith’s background as a therapist, in conjunction with her personal experience. She divides her story into sections based on Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). However, she tells her story in a non-linear fashion that frames grief in the larger concept of survival. So while you watch her engage in substance abuse and abusive relationships, you’re also seeing her as a compassionate, competent individual who has lived through incredible loss and come out the other side, stronger and grateful for the experience. The description of her father’s death is simply put, exquisite prose, unembellished and real. This is the defining story of the author’s life, but I sure hope she writes another book- she is a remarkable writer.
Check the BPL catalog for this title: The Rules of Inheritance