From the bestselling author of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler has written an apology to herself from her father's point of view in the words she longed to hear, attempting to transform the abuse she suffered into an expansive vision for the future.
... a slim book of unbearable heft ... not a creation of psychological realism so much as an act of therapeutic imagination ... may be a very personal act of therapeutic recovery for the author, but Ensler also offers it as model for others.
...[a] profound, imaginative and devastating book ... Dramatically, it is horrifying and mesmerising in equal measure, both in its depth of inquiry and its detail ... The Apology is a complicated act of ventriloquism and Eve’s anger sometimes glints within [Arthur's] words. At one point, she sounds like a modern-day Circe, vanquishing the spectre of this abusive father by turning him into a small, scuttling creature, her contempt for him forced out of his mouth as self-loathing ... This book, in the end, is an act of imaginative empathy that seeks to understand the monster father and turn him into the human one, and also its own form of literary retribution that calls out his crimes. Can creative exhumation of this kind really free an abused adult from a lifetime of childhood suffering? Ensler’s book does not – cannot – provide a definitive answer but there is a moving power and poetry to the prose that rouses Arthur from his grave and holds him to account.
The Apology attempts a kind of ventriloquism that seems nearly impossible to achieve convincingly. Indeed, the book’s conceit is not always flawlessly executed. There are insightful moments, and Ensler expertly unpacks the intergenerational trauma that led to her childhood experiences ... But Ensler’s prose can get awfully purple ... Other sections read like a self-help manual written from beyond the grave ... Still, the book knows who it’s for ... For these intended readers, Ensler’s act of conjuring will no doubt provide both catharsis and comfort.