Monday, August 30, 2010
The Crying Tree
Only eighteen months earlier, one of the reasons Nate Stanley moved his family from their home in Illinois to a remote little town in Oregon was because he thought it would be a positive change for his young son. Irene initially had misgivings about leaving the only home any of them had ever known, but her religious faith made it easier for her to acquiesce to her husband’s decision to accept a new law enforcement position in the little Oregon town. Now their son is dead – and the family is struggling to hold itself together even long enough to see the boy who killed him convicted of the crime.
Nineteen years later, Irene Stanley, having returned to Illinois with her husband and daughter, receives the letter she had long dreamed of receiving, the one announcing an execution date for her son’s killer. In just three weeks, Daniel Robbin, now 38, is to be put to death for murdering 15-year-old Shep Stanley all those years ago. Irene has just one problem: she has long since forgiven Robbin and she does not want the state of Oregon to execute him. But what can she do about it now, with only three weeks to spare?
The Crying Tree is filled with sympathetic characters, all used to good effect by Rakha to explore both sides of the death penalty debate. While it is true that the most sympathetic of Rakha’s characters are trying to stop Daniel Robbin’s execution, I doubt that many readers favoring the death penalty will have their minds changed by the novel. Actually, I do not believe that is what the author was trying to accomplish anyway. Above all, The Crying Tree is a novel about the power of forgiveness to heal unimaginable wounds when nothing else will do the trick. Irene Stanley’s willingness to forgive her son’s killer saved her life - and ultimately saved what was left of her family. That is its real message.
Rated at: 4.0
(Review Copy provided by Publisher)