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Family stories help forge an identity—even when they’re not entirely true

Our own personal costume dramas, they’re vehicles for passing down values, animating our genetic inheritance through accounts of pluck and hard graft

By Hephzibah Anderson   May 2020

Illustration: Kate Hazell

Family stories are as varied as their tellers. They can beguile and they can bore, inspire and puzzle, but whether they leave their audience in stitches or cringing with embarrassment, they all share a crucial function: helping to forge identities.  

That goes for the identity of the family as a whole as well as its constituent members. Whenever it’s said of my daughter “She’s such an Anderson girl!”, volumes of family lore are being footnoted.…

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