Gritty, poetic, and illuminating. (Oprah Magazine)

A brilliant memoir. (BookReporter)

A powerful, moving memoir of overcoming grief and loss. (Booklist Starred Review)

In this deeply reflective, anguished memoir, L.A. journalist and psychotherapist Smith revisits the staggered death of her two parents from cancer as steps in the process of grieving.Smith’s prose possesses a blistering power, rendering this youthful memoir an affecting journey into loss. (Publisher’s Weekly)

This memoir is a guide to finding a way forward for those who are grieving, and a lesson for everyone in finding the joy in everyday life. A winner for book clubs everywhere. (American Library Association)

Structuring her remarkable debut The Rules of Inheritance around Kubler-Ross’s 5 Stages of Grief, Smith holds back nothing as she cuts across time to detail her rocky youth defined by the loss of her parents. (Barnes & Noble Review)

Absorbing and affecting. Her memoir packs a lot of hurting and living and holds out the hope of healing. (Blogcritics)

Her voice is compelling. Simultaneously self-indulgent and surprisingly affecting. (Kirkus)

For a book written by a therapist, The Rules of Inheritance is refreshingly free of “therapy-speak”, cliche, or self-absorption. It’s funny, honest and wise with the raw truth at its heart. (New Zealand Women’s Weekly Book of the Week)

This is a memoir that’s simply bursting with beautiful, poetic lines. (The Rumpus, read the whole interview here)

Insight into not just the despair that comes with loss, but the possibilities as well. You’ll cry your eyes out. (Daily Candy)

An emotionally demanding book about love and loss. The clarity of Smith’s self-reflection is exquisite and excruciating. She understands the power of pause: sometimes what is left unsaid can be more powerful than what is spoken. Her prose is direct, considered, elegant. (The Australian)

A portrait of a family and a celebration of love. (Next Magazine, New Zealand)

Claire Bidwell Smith’s stunning new memoir, The Rules of Inheritance, chronicles the deaths of both of her parents while she was young, and it is sad. Yet the story of her struggle for normalcy as they succumbed to cancer — first her mother, when Smith was 18, followed by her father, when she was 25 — is vivid, real, and gripping. (BlackBook Magazine)

Studding the narrative with striking metaphors and poetic descriptions, Smith creates a soft, understated prose that seems wholly unaware of just how brilliant it is. Both beautifully crafted and thrilling to read, this debut work is a rare, unpretentious memoir that is a gift to all those lucky enough to experience it. (Tethered by Letters Review)

With The Rules of Inheritance, Smith demonstrates her own power to unlock all of us, for grief and loss are inevitable in the course of a life. (The Faster Times)

Claire’s journey to where she feels able to move past the suffering and towards a future of hope is one of the most honest and wrenching memoirs I have read. (Readings Reviews)

Claire Bidwell Smith has written a powerful memoir that is at once exquisite and profound. (Mary Ryan’s Good Book Guide)

This memoir candidly documents a battle with loss and grief. The author’s introspective focus offers an uplifting note of hope and transformation. (Better Homes & Gardens, Australia)

A brave and intelligent book about big loss and even bigger love. The gritty truth and hard won grace in this beautiful memoir astonishes me. –Cheryl Strayed, New York Times bestselling author of WILD

Gorgeously written, compulsively readable, and heartbreakingly true, The Rules of Inheritance is a small masterpiece of honesty. Anyone who’s lost a parent will find themselves in this story. I couldn’t stop reading it, and was sorry when it had to end. — Hope Edelman, Motherless Daughters

I do believe with all of my heart that Claire is a huge talent and this book is a fantastic piece of literature. I appreciate Claire’s writing style and narrative flow, however, what I am stunned by most of all is how she described her grief process in ways big and small that I’ve not experienced before in other books.  – Edward Ash-Milby, Barnes & Noble Buyer

This beautiful memoir is about what we inherit–the love as well as the sorrow and loss that are an inevitable part of human connection.  In lucid, unsentimental prose, Claire Bidwell Smith maps out the story of her abrupt and rocky coming-of-age with just the right amount of intimacy and distance.  This book will stay with me. – Dani Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Devotion

Claire Bidwell Smith has written a beautiful book; it’s a perfectly crafted story — not about grief, but how to walk out of grief with your soul intact; it’s not a lamentaion, but a lesson.THE RULES OF INHERITANCE should be required reading for anybody who’s trying to get their arms around a big sadness. – Darin Strauss, Author of Half a Life

Forget everything you think you know about grief. Smith’s memoir is the most honest book I’ve ever read about how loss unmoors, challenges and changes you, written in prose so exquisite, it could be poetry. Dazzlingly brave and absolutely true. – Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

In The Rules of Inheritance, Claire Bidwell Smith takes us on a heartbreaking journey into grief’s deepest waters and then shows us how she found her way back to hope’s shores. With courageous vulnerability and uncompromising authenticity, Smith demonstrates how she transformed tragic misfortune into a rite of passage. — Jillian Lauren, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem

A searingly honest, poignant and poetic chronicle of love and loss, examining what it feels like to be ‘nobody’s most important person.’ — Susan Shapiro, author of Lighting Up and Five Men Who Broke My Heart

The Rules of Inheritance is a graceful and gritty, and ultimately quite uplifting, exploration of grief. Smith writes gorgeously about the existential tug between life and death, hope and fear, honesty and escape that defined more than a decade of her young life. At once profoundly personal and exquisitely universal, this story will touch all of us, not just those of us who have faced similar losses. — Aidan Donnelly Rowley, author of Life After Yes

Written in a fluid, arresting style that grabs the reader and won’t let go, 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, author of A Million Little Pieces

“A study of loss and heartache from someone who has sunk down into the darkest depths of despair of loneliness and managed to come out the other side, tempered by suffering and stronger for it.” (Booktopia)

What a beautifully told memoir of Claire’s love for her parents and the untethered feelings she had following the death of her mother.  Her honesty in sharing her behavior and reaction to loss and grief was both raw and touching, as she also began to realize that her closeness to her father would not have occurred without the death of her mother. Her superb writing draws you in to her story and leads you to think about the fragility of life and how the touch and presence of another human can make a difference.  Powerful!Nona Camuel, Bookseller CoffeeTree Books