Rated of 5
by Shaun D. (Woodridge, IL)
A Dual Inheritance
Warning - contains plot spoilers....
I found this book a decent, albeit predictable, read. Nothing terribly exciting or surprising happens and the 2 main characters plod along their unoriginal narratives until the book just ends.
It's a story that's been told many, many times, whether it's 2 brothers, or 2 sisters, or in this case, 2 friends. One friend comes from old-money 'haves' & the other from the wrong side of the tracks with the requisite chip on his shoulder 'have-nots'. Hugh, the 'have' character, disdains the family name, money & inherent priviledges. Ed, the 'have-not' friend (as if just being the poor but brilliant and determined 'have-not' isn't sufficient, he is also Jewish in a setting where that's snobbily derided) dedicates his life to working ridiculously hard and amasssing enough of a fortune that his Jewishness is overlooked in favor of his new-found social standing. Fast forward a few decades, after Hugh realizes that he has spent his life trying to rid himself of what he finally realizes ... is his essential self. He performs the requisite charity work in Africa, marries the WASP-y girl of his dreams, has a family and then, ultimately realizes .... that being from a long line of wealth & priviledge isn't inherently a bad thing, that it's (say it with me now) what you do with said life & wealth & priviledge is what ultimately counts. And of course the same with Ed's journey. He predictably realizes that he was fine as he was made, and that having a goal of making more-than-enough money to buy your way into the snobby country-club life, at the end-of-the-day, leaves one hollow and empty. Thus the 'Dual Inheritence' theory (the title refers to the 2 major factors that contribute to a personality: nature/culture/surroundings nurture/genes/family, etc) leaves the reader to decide: all that Hugh did, everywhere he traveled, he ultimately (and predictably) realized that internally he simply IS from the right-side-of-the- tracks & that's OK. And Ed? Same self-discovery: he made the money, bought the clothes, the homes, all of his focus on the exterior, only to realize that no one sees him any differently b/c he's still the same forthright-to-the-point-of-being obnoxious person on the inside & that's OK. Just like this book itself.......just OK.