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January 31, 2011


Posted by Dana

The-Crying-Tree-9780767931748.jpgIf you're not afraid of controversial topics at your book club, then check out Naseem Rakha's THE CRYNG TREE.  It is the story of a family torn apart by the brutal murder of their teenage son, and the mother's journey to forgive the man who killed him and is imprisoned and on death row.

The author, clearly not in favor of the death penalty, takes on this difficult subject and tries to show us the impact of this punishment on not just the inmate, but the victim's family and the men and women assigned to carry out the task.

For me, the point was weakened by a twist in the plot that let the reader know that the condemned man was not as guilty as we first thought.  I believe the author was trying to tell us that these stories are never black and white and that no matter how sure we might be of a man's guilt, we can't really know all the circumstances that led him there.  But for me the idea that someone on death row might be innocent - or less guilty - can't be the compelling argument against the death penalty.  It seems to me that to convince someone who is a proponent of the death penalty that they are wrong, you need to convince them that they shouldn't put someone to death who IS guilty.

You see, lots to talk about... if you dare. 

Alas - the twist in the plot also brings up additional controversial issues that will be interesting and maybe difficult to talk about which I won't give away here as I don't want to ruin the story for you.

Suffice it to say, the other real issue in the book is forgiveness.  Could you forgive someone who killed your child - no matter the reason?  Through very real research, the author encountered people who had done just that.  

If you choose THE CRYING TREE, be prepared for strong reactions, but encourage your members to speak their minds while remaining open to the thoughts and feelings of everyone there.

-- Dana Barrett, Contributing Editor