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  • Writer's picturePodcast Librarian

Family Secrets: Because every family has a dark side

The Premise (from Apple Podcasts):

Family Secrets. We all have them. And while the discovery of family secrets can initially be terrifying or traumatic, often these discoveries have the power to liberate, heal, and even uplift us. Join Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of the memoir Inheritance, and her guests as they explore astonishing family secrets and uncover the extraordinary lessons the truth can teach us.

Series or standalone:


Begin listening to:

Technically, you can begin with any episode. I recommend starting with Dani's own story (Inheritance).


Dani narrates the guest's story but incorporates interviews with them


Dani Shapiro, an author, memoirist, and podcaster

Sound/production quality:

Very good--the interviews are obviously not the best quality since they are usually over the phone, but it never has interfered with my enjoyment.

Rating/age suitability:

The topics and language can be pretty intense, so this is really just for adults.

Approximate length of episodes:

35-45 minutes

Curricular ties:


Similar recommended pods:

Dani also hosted The Way We Live Now during quarantine, but I think that has ended now. It's worth a listen, too. Other similar shows include This Is Actually Happening and The Secret Room. I haven't listened to these, but I've heard that Family Ghosts and Strangers are similar listens.

Podcast Librarian’s Review:

I’ve always been fascinated by gossip. I know, that sounds terrible, but I’m just being honest. I love hearing about other people’s lives and the family secrets that remain hidden for decades. This show is all about those secrets. Dani Shapiro narrates the stories but incorporates snippets of interviews with the person being interviewed; most of her guests are authors themselves, so they know how to tell their own stories--and many have published those stories, too. Most of the secrets have to do with parentage of children—adoptees, children of affairs, etc. All are surprising in some way or another, and the style of the show is appealing. Dani is compassionate but knows how to tell a good story. She sometimes compares a guest’s experience to her own because, oh yeah, Dani holds a family secret, too. If you like good storytelling, human interest, or gossip (I can’t be the only one), then you’ll enjoy this well-produced, intriguing podcast. Start with Dani’s story (Ep.1). The most shocking story for me was The Very Image (Ep. 2), but trust me when I say you’ll want to binge the entire season!

Update 10.17.2020

Since my review, I have listened to every single episode of every season. They're all fascinating, and this is one of my favorite podcasts! Season 4 has just begun, so make sure you start listening if you haven't already!

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