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BITTER HARVEST: A WOMAN'S FURY A MOTHERS SACRIFICE : "A Woman's Fury, a Mother's Sacrifice" Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

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Editorial Reviews Review

Fans of Ann Rule will find much to relish in Bitter Harvest, the tale of a brilliant Kansas physician who holds herself together well enough to put on a decent show for the outside world, but in the heart of her horror-struck family is a violent and baffling monster. She drinks, abuses drugs, spews invective, and even lights fires. At one point she learns from an Agatha Christie novel about a potent toxin contained in castor beans, and she starts poisoning her long-suffering husband. Yet until the final fire that consumes two of her children, they continue to love her and defend her to attackers. Rule tells the story with flair, conveying all of the heady feelings involved, but still the book has a flaw: Rule fails to understand the main character. When a psychiatrist testifies that the doctor is at a younger age than a toddler in her ability to process or sustain emotions, Rule writes, "That was a shocker. Could a woman with an IQ of 165 and a biting, facetious wit, a woman who had zipped through college and medical school, be a child emotionally?"Yes, she could. Bitter Harvest would've been a stronger book if Rule had shown us how. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Dr. Deborah Green was a brilliant, wealthy, married mother of three who was convicted of repeatedly trying to poison her husband and of killing two of her children in a fire she methodically set in the family home. Rule (A Fever in the Heart, LJ 11/1/96) proves once again that she is a master of the true-crime genre?she builds the narrative from Green's days as a student of superior intelligence through her years in an increasingly unhappy marriage to her physician husband. Rule carefully chronicles Green's bizarre behavior and takes the reader through the arson investigation as well as Green's husband's illnesses, surgeries, and attempt to rebuild his life with his remaining child, who escaped the fire. Peppered throughout the narrative are quotes from Green herself, which expose her twisted thinking and her attempts to rationalize her behavior. An outstanding chronicle of a crime investigation as well as a riveting profile of a brilliant mind and empty soul.
-?Christine A. Moesch, Buffalo & Erie County P.L., N.Y.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Audioworks; Abridged edition (February 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671577522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671577520
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,625,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am an author of true-crime books, and I'm now working on my 25th and 26th: NO REGRETS and TOO LATE TO SAY GOODBYE. I have lived in the Seattle Area for many years. Before that, I grew up in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and lived in Texas, Oregon, and near Niagara Falls, N.Y. I always wanted to be a police officer--because my grandfather was a sheriff in Michigan. I joined the Seattle Police Department when I was 21, worked a year and a half, but then I couldn't pass the eye test. After five years of rejection slips, I finally sold my first article for $35! Soon, I found my niche when I began writing for the fact-detective magazines like TRUE DETECTIVE in 1970, and I wrote more than a thousand homicide cases, and went to hundreds of trials. My first book, THE STRANGER BESIDE ME, was about Ted Bundy, but, amazingly, I had the book contract to write about an unknown killer six months before Bundy was identified as the "Ted Killer." And I had known him all along, and didn't realize it; he was my partner in the all-night shift at Seattle's Crisis Clinic! Oddly, I started out writing humor, but unless you are Erma Bombeck, Garrison Keillor, or Fanny Flagg or Dave Barry, it's hard to make a living. Now I write humor for fun and for my friends.

I graduated in Creative Writing from the U of Washington, with minors in criminology and psychology. I also have an AA degree in law enforcement, taking classes in crime scene investigation, arrest, search and seizure, crime scene photography and forensic science. I've lectured in seminars all across America to detectives, prosecutors, and even at the FBI Academy. My subjects have been serial murder, high profile offenders, and women who kill. I write two books every year--one hardcover single-case book, and one Ann Rule's True Crime Files original paperback. Although people tend to think I write only about the Northwest, I go wherever the cases are most interesting. I've written about murder cases in Florida, Georgia, New York, Kansas, Texas, Hawaii, and California, too.

I raised five children on my own--starting out with articles for baby care magazines, Sunday features, true confessions, and then "slicks" like Cosmopolitan, Ladies' Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and Reader's Digest. Now, my children are grown.

I like to keep in very close touch with my readers, and I'm able to do that with a weblog and a guestbook on my website pages at This also gives readers a chance to talk with each other, and its' a pretty lively spot--as I'm sure this page will be.

To choose a book subject, I weed through about 3,000 suggestions from readers. I'm looking for an "anti-hero" whose eventual arrest shocks those who knew him (or her): attractive, brilliant, charming, popular, wealthy, talented, and much admired in their communities--but really hiding behind masks.

I'm a reader myself, and I always have several books going at once--one upstairs, downstairs, near the bathtub, in my car, and beside my hammock (in the summer, of course!)

Customer Reviews

I am certainly no friend of Debora Green Farrar.
This is not only Ann Rule's best book but one of the best true crime books ever written.
I am having a hard time putting my kindle down when I read her books.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By KamiahKat@AOL.COM on August 25, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a deeply disturbing and at the same time a fascinating story. Ann Rule is an expert at building the supense without giving away the "truth" about what actually happened and who did what until late in the book. She manages to portray the characters in a way that makes you think you know them, and even as you begin to realize that the guilty party has done the unspeakable, she paints a picture of the whole person, and you find yourself feeling if not true empathy, at the least a grudging amount of sympathy for the characters involved. This was an emotional roller coaster and difficult to deal with at times, but it is well worth the read, and perhaps may at some point in time come to be a vehicle that could help prevent such a tragedy to again occur. Although I find it so hard to believe, that this particular situation could ever happen again, I just as surely thought this could never happen. I am sobered by the fact that it indeed can happen, and I will never again look at the warning signs of a dysfunctional family in quite the same way. Thanks Ann for your wonderful, insightfull book.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on October 21, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most of Ann Rule's true crime books are located in the Pacific Northwest, but for "Bitter Harvest" she travels to Kansas to tell the story of a modern Medea who murders her children and poisons her straying husband. I saw the presentation of this case on Court TV, but this book goes into much more detail about the people who were involved in the marriage-from-hell that led to murder.

Ann Rule, a former policewoman writes about victims with a compassion that sometimes ventures over the border into cliché, but in this case, it is almost impossible to exaggerate the pathos and innocence of twelve-year-old Tim Farrar and his six-year-old sister, Kelly, or the ten-year-old Lissa who managed to survive the burning house by jumping from the garage roof.

On the other hand, it is almost impossible to feel any sympathy for the murderess, Dr. Debora Green. I really hate it when highly intelligent people turn to murder, especially those who use such horrible weapons as fire and poison. Really, Dr. Green should have been setting a good example for the majority of us who aren't geniuses. However, according to the author, this physician and mother of three had the emotional I.Q. of a two-year-old. When she didn't get her own way, she took to drinking, swearing, and beating herself with her fists. Highly intelligent or not, the arson investigators soon found the trail of accelerant that pointed directly to Debora's bedroom.

This is a thoroughly depressing story, but one of Ann Rule's best reporting jobs. For a change, the victims aren't beautiful but clueless young women who fall for the wrong man, and the killer isn't a sex-crazed sociopath. Dr. Green's case forced this author out of her usual writing rut, and the result is a fascinating look at a crime that is darker than most of us can imagine.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After hearing so much over the years about the quality of Ann Rule's books, I finally picked up this one and was prepared to be enthralled. Indeed, the story is fascinating, but Rule's treatment leaves something to be desired. She does provide meticulous detail, and the book certainly kept me reading. However, I found it finally unsatifying for several reasons.
Rule telegraphs too much too soon about who is going to be the "villain" of the story, and her presentation of the Farrars' marriage is far too black-and-white. For a relationship to have deteriorated to such horrific depths, both partners were surely more to blame than Rule seems willing to suggest. The spouse whom Rule paints as the complete victim strikes me as having been, at the very least, a fool to the point of criminal negligence. Yet, at every turn, the author inserts an excuse for that individual's actions.
Most frustrating to me was that hinted-at revelations about the guilty party's character never materialize. Rule drops teasers into her text that she never follows up on. For example, on page 27 of the hardcover edition, the supposed good spouse is "the last to know why" the partner behaves in a certain way, but that is the last we ever hear about it. Similarly, on page 322, a psychologist comments on "life experiences that a preadolescent" that contributed to the guilty party's mental state, and one is led to expect some explanation. It never comes. Ultimately we understand very little about who this person is--or why.
Because I gather that other books by Rule are considered better than this one, I may give her work another try. This book seemed lazy to me--substituting repetition, regurgitation of data, simplistic moralizing, and purple prose for any true insight.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By reads-a-lot on August 27, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Bitter Harvest" is a well-written and absorbing book about a very dysfunctional and cruel woman.Debora Green is a doctor,wife,and mother who is a miserable failure at all three roles.She can't stay employed anywhere for long,terrorizes her husband and manipulates her kids until they are as messed-up as she is.When her husband (finally)decides to leave her she attempts to poison him to death and then burns down her home with her children trapped inside.She kills two of her three kids and then in a final act of cruelty and selfishness she tries to blame her deceased 14-year old son for her actions.This book is interesting if somewhat depressing.It's worth a read if you are a true crime fan.A note to people who read all the other reviews on this book:I suspect a lot of the negative reviews on this book that are supposed to be from a "friend of Debora's"are actually being written by Debora her-self.This is a tactic she employed often-writing notes that praised her to the skies and criticized her husband that were always signed"a friend of Debora".Prisoners in medium security prisons (and some maximum security prisons as well) almost always enjoy internet access through the prison library and some even have computers in their cells.Plus, it would be her personality type to want to know what people were saying about her and try to control what people think.That's my two cents anyway.
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