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The Crying Tree

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The Crying Tree Cover

ISBN13: 9780767931403
ISBN10: 0767931408
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

The Crying Tree

Naseem Rakha

C H A P T E R 1

October 1, 2004

THE DEATH WARRANT ARRIVED THAT morning, packaged in a large white envelope marked confidential and addressed to Tab Mason, Superintendent, Oregon State Penitentiary. Mason had been warned the order might be coming. A couple of weeks earlier, the Crook County DA had let the word slip that after nineteen years on death row, condemned murderer Daniel Joseph Robbin had stopped his appeals.

Mason dropped the envelope on his desk, along with a file about as thick as his fist, then ran his hand over the top of his cleanly shaved skull. Hed been in corrections for twenty years-Illinois, Louisiana, Florida-and on execution detail a half- dozen occasions, but hed never been in charge of the actual procedure. Those other times hed simply walked the guy into the room, strapped him down, opened the blinds on the witness booth, then stood back and waited. Hed worked with one guy in Florida whod done the job fifty times. “It becomes routine,” the officer told Mason, who was busy puking into a trash can after witnessing his fi rst execution.

Now Mason slid into his chair, flicked on his desk lamp, and opened Robbins file. There was the mans picture. A front and side shot. He had been nineteen years old when he was booked, had long scraggly hair and eyes squinted to a hostile slit. Mason turned the page and began to read. On the afternoon of May 6, 1985, Daniel Joseph

Robbin beat, then shot fifteen-year-old Steven Joseph Stanley (aka “Shep”) while in the process of robbing the boys home at 111 Indian Ridge Lane. The victim was found still alive by his father, Deputy Sheriff Nathaniel Patrick Stanley, but died before medical

assistance could arrive. The remaining family members-wife and mother, Irene Lucinda Stanley, and twelve-year-old Barbara Lee (aka Bliss)-were not present during the incident. The Stanleys, who were originally from Illinois, had been living in Oregon for a year and a half when the incident occurred.

The superintendent leafed through more pages-court documents, letters, photos-then leaned back in his chair and looked out his window. A squat rectangular building sat on its own toward the north end of the prisons twenty-five-acre grounds. The last time someone had been executed out there was seven- plus years ago. Mason had been working his way up through the ranks at the Florida State Prison out of Raiford, aspiring for a job like the one he had now-head of a large correctional institution, good salary, power. He blew out a long, disgusted breath. Why now? The Oregon penitentiary was way overcrowded, inmates doubled up in their cells, half of them out of their minds; fights were breaking out left and right, gangs getting tougher to handle; there were race issues, drugs-all while funding for counseling and rehab continued to get slashed. Why now, and why this?

Mason reread the warrant. The execution was scheduled for October 29, 12:01 A.M.

“Less than a goddamn month,” he said, shaking his head. Then, as if to rouse himself, he clapped his mismatched hands, one as dark as the rest of his black skin, one strangely, almost grotesquely white. There was no complaining in this job, he told himself. No moaning about what needed to be done. No stammering or stuttering or

doing anything that might show the slightest bit of resistance or hesitancy. No. Everything in his career had been leading him to this kind of challenge: his demeanor, his words, his actions would all set a tone. And he knew exactly what that tone had to be.

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knottymay, January 25, 2011 (view all comments by knottymay)
This was such a moving story and so well-written. It felt like non-fiction because it was so realistic. The author made you believe in all the characters and really relate to them. I loved this book! It should have been one of Oprah's picks. :-)
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
A high school student, April 21, 2010 (view all comments by A high school student)
One day a student didn't finish their major project for a class. Her teacher allowed her to do an alternate assignment. Together they decided that Aleigha would:

1.) Read "The Crying Tree" by: Naseem Rakha
2.) Go and listen to Naseem Rakha talk about her book
3.) Write about her pre and post view on capital punishment/how the book impacted her
4.) Post her reflective thoughts on a public website, making her work public ( something that she has never voluntarily been done before)

My name is Aleigha Cantwell and I'm a control freak, correction-I'm a recovering control freak. I have to admit, I like order, structure, and lots of sticky notes to write to-do-lists on. I appreciate when society lays the law down, and the guilty pay the price. I am Republican to the full extent possible; earlier this year I read; "Glen Beck" and scored a 10/10 on the test to see just how conservative I might be. I'm not in tune with my emotions, so I didn't cry when Bambi died. Logic is my favorite; because emotions aren't reality. My morals and values are tattooed onto my skin, they're visible. I am overly blunt because frosting doesn't exist in the real world. People are not innately good and I know this because we have laws and police to enforce a "moral code" which people still break so often that our jails are overflowing. This book, "The Crying Tree" was an easy read, that would do nothing for me. I had no expectations-just read and carry out the agreement that I made. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeasy.

My value system says capital punishment is humane, and when someone takes some else's life by murdering them, and/or willing cause another person severe emotional/physical/sexual harm that will permanently and negatively impact the victims quality of life-the offender then gives up the right to life. People who commit such horrible atrocities have lost much of their humanity and do not deserve the luxury of sitting in a cell all day, consuming tax payer dollars while their victim is either dead or emotionally scared. In fact, we need more capital punishment. Sitting on death row for 20 years-what a joke. Killers and rapists need to pay, victims need justice. If someone can justify hurting someone else to such a horrendous extent they are not emotionally stable, they are insane. Allowing them to live is endangering every guard that comes into contact with them and the public-prisoners escape. Focus on the greater good, and vote yes for capital punishment.

I'm not going to summarize "The Crying Tree" for you. My job isn't to debunk the entire book or make you want to go and buy it. Explaining how the book impacted my personal beliefs and talking about how it negatively/positively impacted my life is my assignment. I say this without a hint of teenager drama, and with not intention to be a brown-noser: "The Crying Tree" changed my life. This book made me stay up at night pondering the events that took place, I felt deep-seeded anger, I felt pain, joy, relief and many emotions. At times, I had to put this book face down on the table so I could try and escape from the "truth;" but then quickly pick up the reality and reside in it.I had to finish the text. I had to know what I really thought about it, I became comfortable with the fact that their may not be a light at the end of the tunnel, the dark tunnel may never end. For the first time in my life, I found something that moved me. Six pages from the end, I put the book down, I cried. For two whole days I had to talk myself into finishing this story-I did finish it. Through this book I found apart of myself that I didn't know existed.

Though I'm fully aware that this novel is fiction, not real. The events/characters/details could not be more realistic. Naseem interviewed real-life equivalent characters to those in her stories, and completely based her characters off of truth, reality, and fact. When I read about a prison guards thoughts I truly believed that some guard out there does think like this. Halfway through the book I wished that this fictional story was just that-a fictional, fact-less story. Though I knew it was much more-this story is reality. "The Crying Tree" tells a tale of the death penalty and includes everyone, everyone from the victim to the killer to the boyfriend of one of the family members who experienced great loss because of a crime.

I would have rather read a book just from a killers point of view, I wanted to only read about how he hacked a person up, I wanted blood. I needed to understand how the murderer justified chopping someone up into little pieces and then he would go home to his wife and kids. I longed to know that he plead,"not guilty" then was sentenced to life in prison where he lived a comfortably with his own personal cell and TV. How he appealed the death penalty for so many years and eventually died of old age. While the mother with the dead son never stopped grieving, and how the murdere took down a family unit. This book I desired was supposed to have dozens of facts scattered through chapters with footnotes from ".com" sources. I needed grammatical errors, and poorly structured paragraphs. Then I could debunk the facts and completely dismiss the point the author would try and fail to get across. I needed to loathe this novel. A reason to hate was what I wanted.

The novel I was given didn't have a killer that chopped people up into tiny pieces. The novel I was assigned didn't give me what I thought I wanted-it gave me more.

Never in my life have I re-read the same page over, and over,and over again because it couldn't possibly; oh but it could.

I learned that forgiveness and justice don't need murder in the equation. The death of the guilty won't bring you wholeness. To be at peace is to learn to live with the reality of loss, and to thrive in knowing the pain will diminish. Joy will resume in your life. The grief can end if you let your self process the present circumstances. Unforgiveness is putting yourself in a windowless, dreary, room and closing your eyes. Unforgiveness is believing that if you close your eyes and can't see that pain then the pain can't see or affect you. When the one who hurts you pays a penalty you don't feel peace, you have no relief. May I suggest the reason you feel so terrible is because you let the very person who wronged you control you. If you hate and are consumed with anger; then you can avoid feeling the immense and overwhelming loss and heartache. Now the guilty are in your thoughts, they fill your dreams, they control your emotions. You lose yourself when you won't allow the process of forgiveness to start in your life.

Human created justice only allows momentary relief, and when it diminishes it bring you down more because you're disappointed. Justice was supposed to fix everyone. Human made justice fixes nothing Forgiveness offers everlasting relief-no it offers the "you" to fully come to fruition. No longer must the past haunt you

Truly, the only way to overcome a difficult or hurtful time is to deal with the present circumstances. Running from the truth with a flimsy shield of hate is not allowed.

I am in full opposition to the death penalty. -ac


Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(16 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
A high school student, April 21, 2010 (view all comments by A high school student)
One day a student didn't finish their major project for a class. Her teacher allowed her to do an alternate assignment. Together they decided that Aleigha would:

1.) Read "The Crying Tree" by: Naseem Rakha
2.) Go and listen to Naseem Rakha talk about her book
3.) Write about her pre and post view on capital punishment/how the book impacted her
4.) Post her reflective thoughts on a public website, making her work public ( something that she has never voluntarily been done before)

My name is Aleigha Cantwell and I'm a control freak, correction-I'm a recovering control freak. I have to admit, I like order, structure, and lots of sticky notes to write to-do-lists on. I appreciate when society lays the law down, and the guilty pay the price. I am Republican to the full extent possible; earlier this year I read; "Glen Beck" and scored a 10/10 on the test to see just how conservative I might be. I'm not in tune with my emotions, so I didn't cry when Bambi died. Logic is my favorite; because emotions aren't reality. My morals and values are tattooed onto my skin, they're visible. I am overly blunt because frosting doesn't exist in the real world. People are not innately good and I know this because we have laws and police to enforce a "moral code" which people still break so often that our jails are overflowing. This book, "The Crying Tree" was an easy read, that would do nothing for me. I had no expectations-just read and carry out the agreement that I made. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeasy.

My value system says capital punishment is humane, and when someone takes some else's life by murdering them, and/or willing cause another person severe emotional/physical/sexual harm that will permanently and negatively impact the victims quality of life-the offender then gives up the right to life. People who commit such horrible atrocities have lost much of their humanity and do not deserve the luxury of sitting in a cell all day, consuming tax payer dollars while their victim is either dead or emotionally scared. In fact, we need more capital punishment. Sitting on death row for 20 years-what a joke. Killers and rapists need to pay, victims need justice. If someone can justify hurting someone else to such a horrendous extent they are not emotionally stable, they are insane. Allowing them to live is endangering every guard that comes into contact with them and the public-prisoners escape. Focus on the greater good, and vote yes for capital punishment.

I'm not going to summarize "The Crying Tree" for you. My job isn't to debunk the entire book or make you want to go and buy it. Explaining how the book impacted my personal beliefs and talking about how it negatively/positively impacted my life is my assignment. I say this without a hint of teenager drama, and with not intention to be a brown-noser: "The Crying Tree" changed my life. This book made me stay up at night pondering the events that took place, I felt deep-seeded anger, I felt pain, joy, relief and many emotions. At times, I had to put this book face down on the table so I could try and escape from the "truth;" but then quickly pick up the reality and reside in it.I had to finish the text. I had to know what I really thought about it, I became comfortable with the fact that their may not be a light at the end of the tunnel, the dark tunnel may never end. For the first time in my life, I found something that moved me. Six pages from the end, I put the book down, I cried. For two whole days I had to talk myself into finishing this story-I did finish it. Through this book I found apart of myself that I didn't know existed.

Though I'm fully aware that this novel is fiction, not real. The events/characters/details could not be more realistic. Naseem interviewed real-life equivalent characters to those in her stories, and completely based her characters off of truth, reality, and fact. When I read about a prison guards thoughts I truly believed that some guard out there does think like this. Halfway through the book I wished that this fictional story was just that-a fictional, fact-less story. Though I knew it was much more-this story is reality. "The Crying Tree" tells a tale of the death penalty and includes everyone, everyone from the victim to the killer to the boyfriend of one of the family members who experienced great loss because of a crime.

I would have rather read a book just from a killers point of view, I wanted to only read about how he hacked a person up, I wanted blood. I needed to understand how the murderer justified chopping someone up into little pieces and then he would go home to his wife and kids. I longed to know that he plead,"not guilty" then was sentenced to life in prison where he lived a comfortably with his own personal cell and TV. How he appealed the death penalty for so many years and eventually died of old age. While the mother with the dead son never stopped grieving, and how the murdere took down a family unit. This book I desired was supposed to have dozens of facts scattered through chapters with footnotes from ".com" sources. I needed grammatical errors, and poorly structured paragraphs. Then I could debunk the facts and completely dismiss the point the author would try and fail to get across. I needed to loathe this novel. A reason to hate was what I wanted.

The novel I was given didn't have a killer that chopped people up into tiny pieces. The novel I was assigned didn't give me what I thought I wanted-it gave me more.

Never in my life have I re-read the same page over, and over,and over again because it couldn't possibly; oh but it could.

I learned that forgiveness and justice don't need murder in the equation. The death of the guilty won't bring you wholeness. To be at peace is to learn to live with the reality of loss, and to thrive in knowing the pain will diminish. Joy will resume in your life. The grief can end if you let your self process the present circumstances. Unforgiveness is putting yourself in a windowless, dreary, room and closing your eyes. Unforgiveness is believing that if you close your eyes and can't see that pain then the pain can't see or affect you. When the one who hurts you pays a penalty you don't feel peace, you have no relief. May I suggest the reason you feel so terrible is because you let the very person who wronged you control you. If you hate and are consumed with anger; then you can avoid feeling the immense and overwhelming loss and heartache. Now the guilty are in your thoughts, they fill your dreams, they control your emotions. You lose yourself when you won't allow the process of forgiveness to start in your life.

Human created justice only allows momentary relief, and when it diminishes it bring you down more because you're disappointed. Justice was supposed to fix everyone. Human made justice fixes nothing Forgiveness offers everlasting relief-no it offers the "you" to fully come to fruition. No longer must the past haunt you

Truly, the only way to overcome a difficult or hurtful time is to deal with the present circumstances. Running from the truth with a flimsy shield of hate is not allowed.

I am in full opposition to the death penalty. -ac


Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 11 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780767931403
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Rakha, Naseem
Publisher:
Broadway Books
Subject:
Death
Subject:
Forgiveness
Subject:
General
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Death row inmates
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Psychological
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090707
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.53 x 5.7 x 1.2 in 1.05 lb

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Crying Tree Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Broadway Books - English 9780767931403 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[A] beautiful and passionate novel... Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "The Crying Tree is a powerful novel full of moral questions as well as surprises. Like real life, there are no easy roads for these characters, but they make their way, one step at a time."
"Review" by , "Rakha writes of one of her central subjects, 'and it wasn't anything she knew how to handle.' Not so for the author, who has crafted not only a compelling read, but one whose message lingers: At what point does that to which we cling for our survival become the very thing that robs us of our life?"
"Synopsis" by , A mother's extraordinary act of forgiveness nearly tears her family apart in a powerful debut novel that's perfect for reading groups that have adopted Jodi Picoult and Elizabeth Berg.

Nate Stanley thinks the move to Oregon will be great for his family, especially his fifteen-year-old son, Shep. His wife, Irene, has doubts, and her reservations prove eerily prescient when tragedy strikes and Shep is killed a little more than a year after they settle into their new home.

Irene battles with her grief and desire for vengeance until it nearly kills her, and then she decides she must forgive her son's killer if she is to have any life at all. She begins a secret correspondence with Daniel, the young man who awaits execution on death row for the murder of Shep. When Nate discovers the friendship that has developed over the years between Irene and Daniel, he is devastated and in an explosive confrontation with his wife, a shocking truth about the circumstances surrounding that fateful day is revealed. Stunned but still determined to find peace, Irene embarks on a soul-searching journey that takes her to places in her heart she never knew existed.

Naseem Rakha writes about ordinary people facing extraordinary odds with a grace and emotional depth that is sure to establish her as a new favorite of readers who love to immerse themselves in complex family relationships and identify with characters who are all too human.

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