The Crying Tree by Naseem Rahka (A Bookies Review)

Irene and Nate Live a happy life in Illinois with their two children Bliss and Shep.  When Nate is offered a job as a Deputy Sheriff in Oregon, he surprises the family by jumping at the offer and moving them.  Irene is angry with her husband’s decision, but the family moves and as they start to get settled into their new life,

tragedy strikes.

During what appears to be a robbery of their home, 15-year-old Shep is shot and killed during this event.  The Stanleys fall apart in the wake of this tragedy.   The man who shot Shep, Daniel Robbin, is caught and put away for life.

Many years later, Irene receives the letter she has both waited for and dreaded, the announcement of the date that Daniel Robbins will be put to death by lethal injection.  Things are not as they once were for Irene and she is not sure that she still feels that Daniel should be executed, a thought she has kept to herself through the years.. .never sharing this with her husband Nate or her daughter, Bliss.

What secrets Irene carries are heavy… but Irene is not the only one to have secrets.  The result being a head on crash of emotions and explosive opinions that will leave your head spinning to the very last page.

Why did I want to read this book?  My friend and fellow Bookie Angie gave me a copy of this book after she read it and loved it.  Angie’s tastes in books usually are god ones that I enjoy too so I was excited to read this book that she said led to great inner thought.  Shortly after it was given to me, it was also chosen as our August book club read.

The Crying Tree was a book I picked up and instantly fell into the flow of the read.  Told in alternating chapters, I started to understand the flow of the “that was then” and “this is now”.   The Crying Tree was a beautiful story of deep family secrets that only build on one another as the story unfolds.

The secrets that can define us is a huge theme in this book and as The Crying Tree opens, page by page secrets are revealed to you, the reader, that are both shocking and thought-provoking at the same time.  The deeper you travel within this book, the more you are let in on the secrets of The Crying Tree.

WOW.  Oh WOW.  That’s my take and I am sticking with it.  What I thought I knew about The Crying Tree in the early part of the book was nothing compared to what was revealed as I became a part of the book.  Sometimes I don’t know why I do not see what is going to happen next but int his book I did not see it coming and I am so glad I didn’t because the tight grip I had on this book as my mouth hung open in shock…



The Crying Tree is not a book for everyone, it does deal with hard subject matter, however… I think it is a book that should be read by everyone because it does make you think and look at yourself honestly and say “what would I have done?”  A powerful read that will remain on my bookshelves as a reminder to myself as to how powerful the written word is.



The Bookies book club gathered in my home in August 2012 to review this book.  I had twenty questions prepared for discussion and our questions brought up such good thoughtful discussion that I had to eliminate about half the questions or we probably would still be reviewing this book. 

The discussion was phenomenal… it was hard, truthful, and passionate.  We really wrapped ourselves around the idea of forgiveness and how much (if anything) is too big to forgive.  Do you need faith in God to forgive?  (This was a question due to the fact that Irene starts out as a strong Christian woman but as the book unfolds and a very poor example of a pastor is her “go to for faith” guy… she walks away from her faith. 

We also spent time discussing how well in today’s world we know our kids… at the time the book was written (in the 80’s), Irene admits that she did not always know what her children were up too when she was at work or out running errands.  She believed they came right home after school, but if she was honest… she did not know that for sure.  Those of us in the discussion feel that even with the addition of cell phones, we still can not be sure we know what our kids are doing all the time – and lives if anything, have just become more cluttered with activity.

The overall thoughts from our book club was on a scale of 1-5 ( 5 being the highest), The Crying Tree rated a 4 average.

Of course… we brought food:

Teardrop Salad





Kale chips




Not pictured:  Our main dish – “Last Meal” Chicken Yellow Squash hotdish and The chocolate mint pie.

Bookies discussing The Crying Tree



I received this book from my friend Angie

12 thoughts on “The Crying Tree by Naseem Rahka (A Bookies Review)

  1. All that discussion and we didn’t even get to the subject of capital punishment! We SHOULD have discussed it longer! lol

  2. It looks like a good time was had by all, and that food looks yummy! I’ve heard many good things about this book, and even though it’s on my shelf I haven’t read it yet. I definitely am going to set aside a couple of months in the winter just to read my books like I did last year. It worked out far better than I thought it would.

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