The For­give­ness Tour: How To Find the Per­fect Apology by Susan Shapiro

The For­give­ness Tour: How To Find the Per­fect Apology by Susan Shapiro

“To err is human; to forgive divine.” But what if the person who hurt you most refuses to apologize or express any regret?

That’s the question haunting Manhattan journalist Susan Shapiro when her trusted advisor of fifteen years repeatedly lies to her. Stunned by the betrayal, she can barely eat or sleep. She’s always seen herself as big-hearted and benevolent, someone who will forgive anyone anything – as long as they’re remorseful. Yet the addiction specialist who helped her quit smoking, drinking and drugs after decades of self-destruction won’t explain – or stop – his ongoing deceit, leaving her blindsided. Her crisis management strategy is becoming her crisis.

To protect her sanity and sobriety, Shapiro ends their relationship and vows they’ll never speak again. Yet ghosting him doesn’t end her distress. She has screaming arguments with him in her mind, relives their fallout in panicked nightmares and even lights a candle, chanting a secret Yiddish curse to exact revenge.

In her entrancing, heartfelt new memoir The Forgiveness Tour: How to Find the Perfect Apology, Shapiro wrestles with how to exonerate someone who can’t cough up a measly “my bad” or mumble “mea culpa.” Seeking wisdom, she explores the billion-dollar Forgiveness Industry touting the personal benefits of absolution, where the only choice on every channel is: radical forgiveness. She fears it’s all bullshit.

Desperate for enlightenment, she surveys her old rabbis, as well as religious leaders from every denomination. Unable to reconcile all the confusing abstractions, she embarks on a cross country journey where she interviews people who suffered unforgivable wrongs that were never atoned: victims of genocides, sexual assault, infidelity, cruelty and racism. A Holocaust survivor in D.C. admits he’s thrived from spite. A Michigan man meets with the drunk driver who killed his wife and children. A daughter in Seattle grapples with her mother – who stayed married to the father who raped her. Knowing their estrangement isn’t her fault, a Florida mom spends eight years apologizing to her son anyway -with surprising results. Does love mean forever having to say you’re sorry?

Year first published: 2021

Read a review on Jewish Book Council

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