Friday, August 28, 2009

Review: The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

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 a 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.

Received from the publicist for review

I was immediately drawn into the story. It was interesting to see the story develop from so many different viewpoints. It had almost a Twin Peaks effect on me in that I had no idea what the heck was going on at the beginning.

I didn't like any of the characters as people, and I certainly wouldn't want to know them in real life. Martin was clearly the most sane of the parents. Fielda and Antonia were obviously unbalanced for quite some time, even before the incident. I was completely disgusted by Antonia. That said, the characters were so well written that you understood the motivations behind their choices.

This one gets nine stars. It was beautifully written. While I sincerely disliked most of the characters as people, my intense dislike of them is a clear indication of how well written they were that they seemed so real. The book was an intricately woven tale, told in such a way to elicit a strong emotional response from the reader, and it succeeded mightily! This fast paced read is certainly strongly recommended.

Rating: ★★★★★★


Diane said...

excellent review beth; thanks for sharing--i look forward to this one.

Mary said...

Wow, if you disliked the characters but liked the book this much it must be a great read. Nice review!

trish said...

Beth, I wanted to thank you for putting so much effort into your tour stop! Your effort shows, and I appreciate that. :)

I also wanted to say that I agree most of the characters were generally unlikeable, but like you said, that's a testament to the author's writing.

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