What Does Forgiveness Look Like?

Book Discussion

I thought a lot about forgiveness while reading Margaret Dilloway's How to Be an American Housewife. What does it mean to forgive? Have I ever sought it the way the characters have? Is there someone in my past that I have not forgiven?

Forgiveness is a skill that, like cleanliness, should be learned early and practiced often. Whether it be forgiving the war, or forgiving your husband when he neglects to show up for dinner, you should bend like a willow tree in a fierce storm. p. 161

In How to Be an American Housewife Shoko is looking for forgiveness. She's looking at it from herself. She's looking for it from Taro, which is a tall order as he considers forgiveness a weakness. She's looking for forgiveness from (or for?) Ronin. Possibly even from Sue and from Mike and Charlie. And Sue... I still haven't decided if she's looking for forgiveness for not being everything she thought her mother wanted to be or if she was simply looking for acceptance.


japanese cherry blossoms



Image Credit: Anne-Cathrine Nyberg


According to Merriam-Webster, to forgive is "to give up resentment of or claim to requital for" or "to cease to feel resentment against (an offender)." But what does that really mean? What does it look like?

I'm not sure. I'm not sure that I'm a particularly forgiving person. I know that I accept things. I accept that things have happened and that people have said things and that I've done things and said things. But do I forgive these things? That's a harder question and I'm not sure I have the answer. I don't believe that I am like Taro and consider forgiveness to be a weakness. I think the ability to forgive is often a strength. Where's the line between forgiveness and acceptance?

Are you a forgiving person? What does forgiveness look like?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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