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.
... at times so electrically intense that it’s hard to read on ... But between the passages that edge towards poetry there is some less beguiling prose. Arthur talks about a 'structure of identity' and 'patriarchal blueprint' ... which can make him sound more like a lecturer in cultural studies than a New York businessman born at around the time Queen Victoria died ... It’s a bold act of imaginative empathy, but you’d expect an award-winning playwright to be better at catching a voice. Perhaps she is too close to it ... The Apology is an incredibly brave attempt to make sense of what seems senseless. It’s a powerful and sometimes devastating anatomisation of harm. As an attempt at an explanation, it seems plausible, but Ensler’s view, articulated here by her father, that the 'structure' of male identity is 'predicated on the need to destroy', can give it the ring of sociological theory, rather than truth ... This chilling book reads like a work of catharsis. But catharsis isn’t quite the same as art.
... a controversial approach to healing, and the author is unaware. The Apology is valuable for what it shows about causes and effects of abuse. But its method and motivation raise questions ... It is unclear why it is personally liberating for the abused to tell such a story, so long after the fact, as if it is the father’s story, when in fact it is not ... There is no explanation of why the author assumes such an approach to personal healing. There is no defense of the approach against rival approaches ... This means the approach is taken to be self-evident. And this may be the most interesting feature of this book: its demonstration of the force of an expectation, rejected in theory by many feminists, about freedom as the control of a story about oneself: invented to conform to one’s own expectations ... shows how easily a controversial story about healing is assumed by some who care about those most undermined by that very story about human freedom: the vulnerable and abused.