Two Very Short Reviews

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro is an intense look at what defines us as a person, as our place in the familial history, as our DNA structures us. In reality, who are we?

Are we a complete package of our DNA, or are we structured through the forces of our environment and out upbringing? Shapiro gives us an in-depth look at her own questions, and some of the answers she has discovered through science and technological means.

Science and technology come together within the strings of her DNA, strings she never knew existed until she took a DNA test to find out more about her familial tapestry. And, what a tapestry she discovered!

The man she thought was her father was not biologically factual. In this day and age, more and more individuals are discovering that who they thought their biological father was, is not necessarily the case. Shapiro is one of those individuals.

Once I began reading Dani Shapiro’s memoir, I could not put it down. I recommend it to everyone.

Ashes in the Snow by Ruta Sepetys was a compelling read regarding Lithuanians who were deported to a Siberian labor camp during the reign of Stalin.

Lina, her mother, and brother were one family who was deported. Their experiences during their time in labor camps is depicted with vivid images, leaving nothing to the imagination. The harshness of temperatures, the lack of enough food/nourishment, and water, is extreme enough. Couple that with the exhausting hours of labor, and the treatment of the deportees, and you have a scene of unimaginable horror.

Ashes in the Snow is a deeply illuminating look at the appalling and horrific conditions, and situations individuals were thrust into in Siberian labor camps. It was not an enjoyable book, for me, but one of extreme historical importance.

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