By Beverly Engel

                                                          John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 3rd Avenue, NY, NY 10158-0012  (212)850-6011

     Beverly Engel is a psychotherapist and recognized expert in the fields of relationships, women’s issues, and abuse.  In her previous book, “Divorcing A Parent” (see review in our Reading Spotlight section), she describes her own painful decision to divorce her mother because of continual abuse.  After she wrote that book, her mother bought it and read it.  Her mother then apologized to the author and changed her behavior, and they have since reconciled.  This book,  The Power of Apology, was then written, to encourage others to heal themselves and those they have hurt by apologizing, and to encourage the victim to try to accept the apology.

     The author explores some reasons why people won’t apologize, such as pride, fear of giving up power, thinking an apology is a sign of weakness, etc. She teaches you how to ask for an apology.  

     She discusses the right way and wrong ways to apologize, meaningless or fake apologies, apologies without remorse, apologies  delivered through clenched teeth and bumbled apologies like the conditional apology (“I’m sorry, but…”) , the half-apology (“I’m sorry you feel bad), and the apology in which the wrongdoer trivializes the damage he caused.


    We are told the necessary ingredients in a meaningful apology are regret, responsibility, and remedy, and that the offender should make no excuses.


     We are helped to accept apologies with forgiveness and some obstacles to forgiveness are discussed, such as anger, pain, fear of being hurt again, and pride.


     The author distinguishes between spiritual forgiveness and human forgiveness, and makes the point that reconciliation and forgiveness are not the same.   She includes “When Sorry Isn’t Good Enough”, “When Expecting Forgiveness Can Be an Insult”,” and “When Forgiveness Is Unhealthy.” 


     The book talks about making amends, and healing your family when there has been an estrangement.  The Power of Apology teaches healing steps to transform all your relationships, and hopefully bring your family back together.