The Forgiveness Tour: How To Find the Perfect Apology

The Forgiveness Tour: How To Find the Perfect Apology

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

The Forgiveness Tour: How To Find the Perfect Apology

by Susan Shapiro


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How Apologies Can Help You Move Forward With Your Life

“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?

Critics praised Shapiro’s previous memoir Lighting Up: How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking and Everything Else I Loved in Life Except Sex as fiercely honest, fascinating, funny and “a mind-bendingly good read.” Now the bestselling author and popular writing professor returns with a darker, wiser follow-up, addressing the universal enigma of blind forgiving.
Shapiro’s brilliant new gurus sooth her broken psyche and answer her burning mystery: How can you forgive someone without an apology?  Does she? Should you? 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510762718
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 01/12/2021
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 1,160,876
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

About The Author
Susan Shapiro, an award-winning writing professor, freelances for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Salon, Tablet, The Forward, Elle, Marie Claire, Oprah, Wired, and The New Yorker onlineShe's the national bestselling author/coauthor of 13 books her family hates, including UnhookedFive Men Who Broke My Heart, Lighting Up, The Bosnia List and The Byline Bible. She and her scriptwriter husband, a New York University professor, live in Greenwich Village, where she teaches her popular "instant gratification takes too long" classes at The New School, NYU, Columbia University, and privately online. Follow her on Twitter @susanshapironet and Instagram @Profsue123. 

Table of Contents

Note to the Reader ix

Chapter 1 A Betrayal Exposed 1

Chapter 2 When an Apology Is Called For 7

Chapter 3 The Forgiveness Industry 17

Chapter 4 When Your Own Country Exiles You 25

Chapter 5 When All Authority Figures Fail You 38

Chapter 6 When the Love of Your Life Betrays You 49

Chapter 7 When Your Whole Continent Betrays You 62

Chapter 8 Craving an Impossible Apology 74

Chapter 9 Depending on Someone Who Won't Apologize 89

Chapter 10 When Addiction Ruins Your Family 102

Chapter 11 Forgiving the Unforgivable 114

Chapter 12 When Love Means Always Having to Say You're Sorry 129

Chapter 13 Craving an Apology for Someone Else 141

Chapter 14 Shown No Remorse, Can You Heal Yourself? 155

Chapter 15 Forgiving a Critical Relative You Can't Leave 167

Chapter 16 When Tragedy Offers a Second Chance 180

Chapter 17 Giving the Apology You Want to Get 189

Chapter 18 What You Can't See Can Blind You 195

Chapter 19 Why You Should Lead the Least Secretive Life 207

Chapter 20 Seeing the Other Side 215

Chapter 21 Full-circle Forgiveness 223

Postscript: Healing Heart Problems 226

Appendix: Ways to Find the Perfect Apology 230

Books I Read While Writing the Forgiveness Tour 233

Acknowledgments 235

About The Author 238

Author's Note: Some names, dates, timelines, settings, and personal characteristics have been changed for literary cohesion and to protect privacy. In several cases, I went back to further interview subjects and added source material to elucidate the story.

Short excerpts of this work have appeared, in slightly different form, in The New York Times, Longreads, Salon, The Independent, Tablet, and The Revealer.

Dedication: To my father, Jack Shapiro

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