Creative Writing

The Forgiveness Tour: How To Find the Perfect Apology

The Forgiveness Tour: How To Find the Perfect Apology by Susan Shapiro, Faculty, Creative Writing The New School

Simon & Schuster, January, 2021

Starred Review from Publishers Weekly:

Journalist Shapiro (Lighting Up) chronicles her search for ways to heal after a devastating betrayal in this magnificent work. Her previous memoir recounted her successful therapy with addiction specialist Daniel Winters. Here, she wrestles with the revelation that their 15-year therapeutic relationship was founded on lies, when she finds out he’s been treating someone she’d asked him not to see. Winters’s refusal to explain or show remorse infuriated her and led her to set out on a quest to determine how to forgive someone who won’t apologize. Shapiro interviews colleagues, students, and religious leaders to probe universal questions around hurt, absolution, and contrition. Analyzing Jesus’s plea, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” a Presbyterian minister posits that “forgiving can get you out of pain.” A colleague tells her, “Jewish law requires a person to ask heartfelt forgiveness three times,” and that “if the injured party won’t respond…the non-forgiver has to seek forgiveness for not forgiving.” A Hindu guru, meanwhile, warns that an “angry grudge… burns your own heart first.” Their wisdom moves her to realize “how small my saga was” and to forgive Winters (who apologized first). By blending these stories with her own experiences and writing with insight, humor, and grace, Shapiro’s elegant survey becomes one largely about plumbing the boundless depths of the human heart. This is essential reading.

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