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The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable
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The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  2,652 ratings  ·  325 reviews
A fresh, inspiring book on learning how to forgive--with firsthand stories from those who have learned to let go of resentment and find peace

"When we learn to embrace forgiveness, it opens us up to healing, hope, and a new world of possibility." --Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt

Written with grace and understanding and based on more than twenty in-depth interviews and storie
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Pamela Dorman Books
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,652 ratings  ·  325 reviews


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Danielle
This was a super archetypal white woman book, and I guess I shouldn't have expected anything else. Pretty much all of the stories are already publicly known or have been previously published, and are just summarized here. I know the book doesn't conflate forgiveness with condoning, but it isn't really apparent what the message is, other than "forgiveness is important for your well-being." I agree, but I can't read this without thinking of all the people dying right now due to government negligen ...more
Marianne
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
Meh. It wasn't horrible, but the premise was a lot more interesting than the execution.

It read like an 8th grader's personal essay - the author inserted herself into the picture a lot more than I felt was valuable. When you compare a falling out with your friend to the type of forgiveness someone like Elizabeth Smart or a Sandy Hook parent has to contemplate, it's a little much.

I'm not unaware the premise of the book is that the act of forgiveness is deeply personal, but it didn't work for me.
Th
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Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As much as I have enjoyed Katherine's writing in the past, I was surprised by how much of an impact this book had on me while reading. This is a really wise and helpful book on forgiveness that would be helpful to have at hand through many seasons and circumstances of life.

Through the various personal stories of forgiveness that are shared in this book, it really puts into perspective the grudges that we can hold onto over something so small in comparison. When you read these unbelievable stori
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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: healing
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt speaks with twenty-two people to talk about the power of forgiveness in their lives. All of the people to whom she speaks have suffered extreme violence, pain, devastation, all at the hands of others. How does each person react to the violence, to the devastation? How has each person used forgiveness as a tool to deal with suffering?

No story is the same, and each person's use of forgiveness is different. The forgiveness given to the perpetrators comes in a multitu
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Anna
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
It really bums me out to give such a low rating. I genuinely wanted to like the book, but I just couldn’t get there. It read like a book report, “What I Learned About Forgiveness;” complete with passages after each interview on her response. Somehow I was left unmoved even with these amazing peoples’ stories to draw from. I hope that if she continues her writing career she’s able to develop a more articulate writing style.
Laura
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is not a one size fits all approach to forgiveness and moving forward. All the stories are real, relatable, inspiring and very moving. This is the type of book you want to savor, then pass on.
Monica Willyard Moen
I have very mixed feelings about this book. First, I should note that this book is about the mostly secular process of forgiveness, not traditional biblical forgiveness. A few of the stories are about people who have relied on faith and the biblical process of forgiveness, but they are in the minority in this volume. That was disappointing to me since I know I need to work through some forgiveness issues, and I cannot do that apart from my relationship with Christ.
Having said all of that, I was
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Lee Woodruff
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Most of us probably have an inconsistent relationship with the capacity to forgive. For many, it can be a life-long process. The grace that comes with forgiveness is lovingly detailed in Schwarzenegger-Pratt’s new book. From victims of sexual trauma or ethnic violence to the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart and Sandy Hook Mom Scarlett Lewis, the book contains interviews and stories from everyday folks and household names. The author draws bite-sized conclusions that allow us to see the potential to ...more
Steve
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I won this book in a giveaway.

The personal stories of forgiveness in this book are pretty incredible and inspiring. I would have liked to have seen more commentary from the author with some suggestions about how to implement the forgiveness process, but the stories illustrate clearly that it can be done in the most difficult circumstances.

I really enjoyed reading these stories. The diversity of the persons and situations presented should appeal to a wide audience and is organized well. I'm grate
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Mandi Spillar
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed several of the emotional stories of forgiveness the author presented. Three stories really moved me: Ron Hall, Immaculee and Adel...wow! I think forgiveness is very personal and this book missed the mark for me. While I appreciate the authors attempt, I found this repetitive and filled with obvious advice. Her synopsis at the end of each story felt disingenuous. I felt her insights were a bit contrived and her thoughts were poorly written.
Candice
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cheryl Olson
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Honey, you seem a little down, are you ok?", my husband of 30 years asked me last night at the dinner table. If you knew me, you would know that I am usually a Chatty Cathy- talking my husband up about each and every aspect of my pretty normal and unexciting day. Last night, I was not down at all, just quiet, and pensive as I had read some of the last chapters of Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt's latest book The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable ...more
Leah
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fav-psychology
Okay I didn't realize that this is the Katherine that's married to Chris Pratt, and eldest daughter of
Arnold Schwarzenegger whaaaaaaat lol

I enjoyed this book, but I felt that it would have been better as a podcast or journal or something not really a novel, but doesn't really matter. I just couldn't read too much in a day because then it was kinda boring over and over again relaying the same message. Which is fine, the book is very focused on forgiveness and that's what the title is, fair enoug
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Julia
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Audiobook. What trite drivel this is with too much god in it. Don't look to Pratt's book to learn how to forgive or begin the process of forgiveness. You'll just get a bunch of stories from people and how they forgave. At the end of each story, Pratt adds her evaluation of that person's process of forgiveness and tries to relate it to her life.

One thing that really bugged me is that she opened the book telling us about her best friend doing something terrible to her and how she wasn't able to f
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Heather Norris
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
I wanted to like this book, but it was not what I was expecting. I thought the stories would be more like interviews, but instead it is the author giving background with a couple of quotes added from the subject. I thought it would be more of an "in their own words" story of how forgiveness was different for everyone. Instead it's boiled down and the author's opinion on how forgiveness looks for that person. ...more
Bethany
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My local library opened back up this week and this book caught my eye. It's a topic that's been on my mind and I'm so glad I picked it up. It's a collection of interviews with people that have been able to move on and forgive after experiencing awful, traumatic things. Elizabeth Smart, Chris Williams, Immaculee Ilibagiza and Sue Klebold to name a few of the more well-known stories.

The stories in this book are incredibly inspiring and positive in spite of their tragic nature. (Note: a couple of
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Rachel
Jul 01, 2020 rated it liked it
I would rate this book a 3.5.
Elyse
Apr 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-to-buy
Book 34 of 2020

I absolutely loved the idea of exploring stories about forgiveness. Forgiveness is such a powerful thing, and there are so many people who have gone through incomprehensible ordeals, and I was excited to see how Schwarzenegger-Pratt shared those unbelievable stories. But sadly, the idea for this book was much better than the execution.

There were two stories that stood out to me as amazing stories of overcoming the unforgivable, and that was the the mother who lost her son in the
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Brandon Frandsen
May 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Great topic to make a book about, totally relevant to most, if not all people. The examples used are world class. This is a much needed book, especially in our day. Content wise this book almost makes it, unfortunately I found it lacked cohesion and consistency. The book simply jumps from one anecdote to another with only superficial insight from the author. I would have appreciated more of the author's input or expert analysis to shine the spotlight on the takeaway lessons that each example is ...more
Elena
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
An inspiring and uplifting short book that highlights twenty people who chose to forgive seemingly unforgivable offenses. From highly publicized stories, such as Amy Smart (who forgave her abusive captors) and Sue Klebold (mother of one of the Columbine shooters) to lesser known people like a father who forgave the drunk teen who killed his wife and child and a young girl who forgave her family's murderers during the Rwandan genocide. Each person had a myriad of reasons to cling to unforgiveness ...more
Hannah
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written book about how many people in horrible situations have been able to move forward in their lives through forgiveness. The book is very thought provoking and asks you to consider forgiveness. Everyone should read this book.
Hannah
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Goodreads Giveaway!
This book was sweet and I thought the individuals' stories were impressive. It was a bit much for me to read such sad stories one after another, and the author's commentary felt a bit repetitive. But overall, it was inspiring and a good read.
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Susan
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
I did like this book but it also became repetitive. Although each story is different, the end result was similar.
Isabelle Bradbury
When I was in junior high, I was being sexually harassed by one of my classmates. The whole situation was a mess. I kept quiet, but my friend reported it and then I started getting death threats. I stopped going to school.
Skip a couple years, I’m back on campus (real high school this time) and I see him everywhere I go. We never once interacted during that time, but I was instilled with terror every time we passed in the hallways. It was a heavy weight for my tiny little self to bear.
Skip to g
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Jessica
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The older I get, the more fascinating I find the topic of forgiveness. What a beautiful but sometime illogical idea. Right? Except that when you truly start to unpack the idea of forgiveness, it isn't illogical at all. It's powerful.
That's what this beautiful book is all about. The power of forgiveness. I love that story after story points out that forgiveness is something you do for yourself. It's, in fact, a form of self-love. Maybe people have wrong idea about forgiveness--that it somehow abs
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Diane
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I saw the title of the book, but not the author's name online and thought it was interesting. Truly if I knew who had written it I likely would not have picked it up. Anyway I started it and find the writing to be fairly superficial-the author doesn't really add any depth or contextual analysis to the stories. These are terrible stories and she doesn't seem to have the writing chops to draw the reader in. It feels like a superficial, one-dimensional sort of attempt at a self-help book that just ...more
Deborah Martinez
May 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lynn
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting compilation of personal stories surrounding the common theme of forgiveness. Reading through this book reminds us that forgiveness does not always have the same meaning for each person but the end result of the freedom that forgiveness offers is almost universal. This was a quick read, with each story ending in a quick take on the experience of the story and feelings each had on the author while she was gathering the details.
Dorothy Bayles
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
This book had some great stories. The premise of the book seems to be that forgiveness is an act of self love and disengaging from the emotions of being wronged. I found it interesting from a humanistic point of view but the antidote seemed to be missing fundamental aspects regarding human suffering, the problem of pain, and redemption. It was a quick read which was nice.
Jennifer
Feb 17, 2021 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading the personal stories in the book, but it seemed like nothing new was revealed -- that all of these stories already exist in other mediums and the author simply compiled them, not adding anything. I was annoyed that the author didn't reveal anything regarding the relationship in which she needed to forgive someone. It seemed a little disingenuous since the other contributors shared very personal things. I think this book could be helpful for someone struggling with the issue of ...more
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Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt is a New York Times best-selling author, animal advocate, daughter, sister, wife and step-mom. As a passionate animal advocate, Katherine works as an Ambassador for Best Friends Animal Society and the ASPCA, lending her time, voice and energy to spread awareness about animal rescue. As an author, Katherine has skillfully translated her own personal experiences into a ...more

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