Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha

Naseem Rakha packs The Crying Tree with thought provoking situations involving interesting characters the reader struggles to like at times and reluctantly dislikes at other times. Rakha immerses the reader in the grief and depression of the Stanley family after the death of their fifteen year old son, Shep. She examines the destruction wrought by family secrets and how easy it can be to blind ourselves to that which we don't want to see. As each family member deals with the death of Shep in their individual ways, the reader wonders what keeps the family from completely disintegrating. When Irene, Shep's mother, begins a secret correspondence with Daniel Robbins, her son's killer, she begins to see him as human rather than just as Shep's murderer launching her on the process of both healing and forgiving. When secrets reveal more about her son than she ever imagined, she questions her mothering as well as the truth revealed. The Crying Tree grabs hold of the reader by the lapels and refuses to let go until the very end as it explores how the death of one teenage boy alters the course of his whole family; father, mother, and sister. Reading The Crying Tree gently urges the reader to think about issues of family, forgiveness, and humanity through the lives of a family one could easily imagine as one's own.

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