Book Review ~ The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

The Weight of SilenceSummary ~ It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn’s shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night.
Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler.
Calli’s mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter’s voice.
Petra Gregory is Calli’s best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor.
Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

The Weight of Silence can be very heavy indeed.  It can make you feel slow, lost, helpless and scared.  When reading the book titled The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf one can feel slow, lost, helpless, scared and annoyed.  For the most part Gudenkauf’s novel about an alchoholic father, spineless mother and the children that suffer in their wake could be called suspenseful and mysterious.  The story focuses on the hours of confusion and fear that derive from two missing girls and one of the girl’s alchoholic father.  They all are in the expansive woods that line the community in Iowa where the story takes place.  Most of the time I second guessed the evidence provided throughout the story but then I was side-swiped by the “real” story of what happened in those woods.  But the side-swipe came from so far past left field that I was very put out. 

Gudenkauf’s writing style is clear and crisp and each chapter is told from different character’s points of view.  Some characters views are told through third person  and others are told from first person but the flow was good.  Sometimes this way of storytelling can be distracting in a book but it worked here.  All in all the writing was very good but the story seemed to drag and then speed up, drag and then speed up throughout.  I was happiest when reading the faster paced segments of course.  The Weight of Silence is the August pick for my book club.  I was thrilled with the beginning of the book when I started it but as the book progressed I started to feel a bit bored.  I just think the flashbacks took so much time, though some of them were pertinent to the present story in a way.  The Weight of Silence unfortunately could read as a non-fiction re-telling of a story out of the newspapers but thankfully this one was pure fiction.

 {Rating 3 out of 5}

One thought on “Book Review ~ The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

  1. I’ve had this book for awhile now and have picked it up to read it a few times but put it back down. I don’t usually mind reading books with dark content or difficult stories, but you certainly have to be prepared for them. I do plan to read it but its not on the top of my list. Great review Karen!

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