Item description for Forgiving the Dead Man Walking: Only One Woman Can Tell the Entire Story by Debbie Morris & Gregg Lewis...
Overview Morris's story takes "Dead Man Walking" one step further to tell her gripping, first-person account evil, suffering, healing, and above all, the incredible power of forgiveness in the face of tragedy.
Publishers Description It was just another time of enjoying milkshakes and small talk. Neither Debbie Cuevas nor her boyfriend, Mark Brewster, gave much thought to the white pickup truck that had pulled up beside them on the riverfront. Until . . . a revolver thrust through the driver’s window . . . a hand jerked Debbie’s head back and a voice said, 'Don’t do anything stupid' . . . and a quiet Friday evening abruptly became a nightmare. For the first time, here is the untold other half of Dead Man Walking, the movie that depicted killer Robert Willie’s death-row relationship with spiritual advisor Helen Prejean. Now the woman whose testimony helped send Willie to the electric chair tells her side of the story--the side America hasn’t heard. In gripping detail, Debbie Morris--formerly Debbie Cuevas--recounts her hours of terror . . . and her years of walking an agonizing road back to wholeness. More than a riveting narrative, here is an incredible tale of courage, faith, and forgiveness. In a world where all of us struggle sooner or later with unforgiveness, Debbie Morris is a living testimony to the grace we long for: grace that shines more brightly than we dare believe, bright enough to triumph over the darkest evil.
Citations And Professional Reviews Forgiving the Dead Man Walking: Only One Woman Can Tell the Entire Story by Debbie Morris & Gregg Lewis has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Ingram Advance - 07/01/1999 page 14
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.2" Width: 6" Height: 0.7" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Aug 13, 2000
Publisher Zondervan Publishing
ISBN 0310231876 ISBN13 9780310231875 UPC 025986231873
Availability 0 units.
More About Debbie Morris & Gregg Lewis
Debbie Morris is the executive pastor of women s ministry at Gateway Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Since it began in 2000, the church has grown to more than 24,000 active members. Debbie has been married for more than thirty years to Gateway s founding senior pastor, Robert Morris, and they have three grown children."
Debbie Morris currently resides in Northern, in the state of Kentucky. Debbie Morris was born in 1964.
Reviews - What do customers think about Forgiving The Dead Man Walking?
Moving but unsatisfying May 8, 2006
This was written by, or on behalf of, Debbie Morris, one of the victims of Robert Willie, a death row inmate supported by Sister Helen Prejean. As such, I think anyone interested in Prejean's work will want to read it, and I recommend reading Michael Varnado's Victims of the Dead Man Walking for a third point of view.
I read this book when it first came out, and I have pondered it for all the years since. As an account of enduring and surviving a grotesque crime, this is a very moving account. As a comment about dealing with such issues, I found it unsatisfying.
The first problem is the ambiguities of the relationship between Morris and Prejean. Let me say that I have considerable admiration for Prejean, certainly more than for most people on her side of the death issue. At least she doesn't dismiss the victims as irrelevant. This story is told as a memoir, so Morris attempts to recount her feelings at the time, which are not necessarily how she feels looking backward. Before she met Prejean, Morris tells us that she was extremely critical of her for accepting without question what Robert Willie told her. Her anger was quite justified. It wouldn't have been difficult for Prejean to find other accounts. But now that Morris and Prejean are such great friends, does this criticism still stand? Further, it becomes clear that Prejean has no qualms about lying through her teeth to further her claims. She said in her interviews prior to Willie's execution that he was remorseful, a changed man. Willie contradicted her in his own interviews. She admits to Morris that Willie wasn't, and probably wasn't capable of being remorseful. Neither she nor Morris seem to have dealt with this untruthfulness.
I am bewildered by Morris' remarks about forgiveness. Many people who write on the issue of forgiveness have the odd idea that if one hasn't forgiven someone, one thinks of them obsessively, eaten up with anger. I had a friend who was murdered; I certainly haven't forgiven the murderer. He received a sentence that satisfies my sense of justice and I have almost forgotten him. I often think lovingly of my friend, but the only time that I think of him is when someone brings up this forgiveness issue. One of the proponents of forgiveness insisted that I must have forgiven him in some sense, but I insisted that I am the arbiter of my own feelings - he is not forgiven one whit. Forgiveness can be just as active and require as much energy as anger.
I'm glad that Morris has learned to cope with what happened to her, but I don't understand it as forgiveness. If she had forgiven him before the trial, would she have refused to testify? If it doesn't affect the course of the law, then what does it mean? Salvation is between the individual soul and God, so that is no explanation either. These are familiar platitudes, which people throw out so unthinkingly, confident that they are self evident, that when they are challenged to explain, they often cannot.
Personally, I recommend Forgiving & Not Forgiving by Jeanne Safer as a nuanced look at anger and forgiveness.
Superb story from a teen abducted by two rapist-murderers Jan 8, 2006
It's hard to find enough words of praise for this book. Two vicious killers escape from jail and chance on a 16-year-old Christian girl talking with her boyfriend in his car in a small town in Louisiana. The escaped prisoners abduct them at gunpoint and head for Florida. They shoot the boyfriend on the way and leave him for dead on a fire ants' nest. They keep the girl with them, and rape her whenever they feel like it. She finds out they raped and killed at least one other young woman before her.
Debbie Morris survived this terrible ordeal and her testimony put the abductors back in jail. Later she found that a nun had befriended the main killer, Robert Willie, and he was now becoming something of a celebrity, even while headed for the electric chair.
It would have been easy to produce a book that was full of bitterness at the legal system, at the world, and at God. But this book doesn't do that. It is gripping yet sensitive, informative yet reserved, and as forgiving as it is powerful. What I like most about it is that the writers (professional writer Gregg Lewis put it together for Debbie Morris) know exactly when to give details and when to restrain them. For example, many writers would play up the rapes for their sensationalism, but in this book Debbie Morris says "he raped me" and leaves it at that.
This is factual writing at its best. I found it hard to put the book down. And it moved me more than books usually do. I cannot find a thing wrong with it to give it less than a five-star rating.
1st hand truth Jul 11, 2005
I remember this crime all too well. My cousin (Mark) was Debbie's boyfriend. I was only 9 at the time, but I remember the frantic phone call from my aunt and my dad joining other members of our family as they drove through town looking for Debbie and Mark. I will never forget overhearing the details of the wake of horror that Robert Willie left behind.
Debbie's book is full of courage, honor, and forgiveness. If should be in every victim assistance program and every victim of crime should read it. If you've read Dead Man Walking, you owe it to yourself to read this as well as Mike Varnado's book (he was the investigator who found Faith Hathaway's body). Helen Prejean cannot tell you about the "real" Robert Willie... only his survivor can.
To Forgive But Not Forget. Dec 10, 2004
As a sixteen year old victim of rape, torture, and attempted murder by Robert Willie in Louisiana, Debbie Ceuvas survived the brutality this killer used to subdue her during the kidnapping. After fifteen years of remembering the nightmarish ordeal, she was able to overcome the trauma and start speaking out.
Her appearance on the t.v. show, 'Frontline,' to tell what really happened to her as opposed to Hollywood's version of 'Dead Man Walking' proved a pivotal point in her recovery. It served as a turning point whereby she was invited to speak at conferences where other participants had endured their own form of confinement and torture.
At the Cleveland, Ohio, conference in 1997, titled "Forgiveness in a Violent Society,' she shared the platform with Beirut hostage Terry Anderson. At seminars directed by Terry Hargrave, a therapist and psychology professor from Amarillo, Texas, she learned the steps to inner healing through forgiveness: insight, understanding, remorse, compensation for past hurts, through two areas, salvage and restoration.
Though she was never mentioned in the film, her testimony led to Willie's conviction. In FORGIVE AND FORGET by Lewis Smedes, she found the section, "Forgiving Monsters" relevant to her experience. Refusing to forgive meant submerging the pain, shame, and self-pity.
Forgiveness seems so hard and you wonder, "Is it really worth it?" She learned that by forgiving that human monster, she was able to trust again -- to experience the giving and receiving of love. She married Conner Morris and is now a mother.
She writes, "People often ask how I feel about the death penalty now?" Her response: "Justice didn't do a thing to heal me. Forgiveness did." I've always been opposed to the death penalty due to the fact that so many 'criminals' on death row are there through revenge and lies.
This is the previously untold other half of "Dead Man Walking,' the movie starring Sean Penn, which depicted the death row relationship he had with spiritual advisor, Helen Prejean, author of the book, DEAD MAN WALKING. Sister Helen, though she tried to save the life of a killer, admires Debbie's refreshing honesty as she dealt with the 'traumatic aftershock and the long, painful road to become whole again.' This true story of the young woman whose testimony sent Willie to the electric chair is one of courage, faith, and forgiveness.
This book is Debbie's "walk" on an incredible journey which was life-changing. THE DAILY VARIETY describes her as 'a woman who is Prejean's equal in strength and virtue.' We are asked to contemplate, "Is there any crime, any hurt, any person beyond the power of forgiveness."
The other side of the story to Dead Man Walking Dec 8, 2004
If you have read Dead Man Walking, you really MUST read this book also! It is the other side of the story. Please consider reading it.
This book is written by the victim Debbie Morris. She takes you through her life (before and after the crime) and how she went on after being the victim of such a horrific ordeal. She ultimately found peace by forgiving Robert Willie. The parents of another girl that had been victimized and murdered by Robert Willie were the opposite of forgiving - they were filled with rage, hate and bitterness. The contrast between Debbie's response and their response really stood out to me. Debbie found peace and they did not...
This book also gives a different perspective on Robert Willie than the one given by Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking. Debbie portrays Willie as being the one in control. He was domineering, the leader, and heavily influenced his partner in crime Joe Vaccaro. In Prejean's book, Willie is portrayed rather the opposite!! (Should we be surprised that someone on deathrow might not honestly describe themselves?)
Overall, this is a well-written book about the power of a forgiving spirit. Please consider reading it to get both sides of the story of Dead Man Walking.