Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Weight of Silence

Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Type: Trade Paperback
Pages: 373
Source: Personal Copy
Publisher: Mira
First Published: August 1, 2008
First Line: "Louis and I see you nearly at the same time."

Book Description from GoodReadsIt 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.

My Rating: 3 stars

My Review: Going into this book I had expected a mystery about two missing girls and while it does have its moments of suspense it was much more of a lighter character study of a group of broken souls. The book starts off with a good amount of tension and I was easily pulled into the life of Callie, a seven-year-old selective mute who goes missing along with her best friend, Petra.

The story is told via several different points of view and you're not going to like all of the characters who are quite flawed but most of whom have some redeeming quality. But I wish more time was spent fleshing out the characters - Antonia, Griff especially - and I was disappointed that Petra didn't share her POV with the reader. Instead, and surprisingly, she is a very tertiary character. 

There was a lot going on in this book - abuse, abduction, small town life, broken marriages, first loves ... and the book was entertaining but if more depth and page time was given to these issues I think the book could have been much better. The Weight of Silence (awesome title, by the way) had good tension to keep me interested but this tension falters considerably at the end of the book which is tied up too neatly and includes an epilogue that doesn't add much.

Overall, this is a good beach read that will give the reader a healthy dose of tension to keep the pages turning but remained a lighter read for me even considering the subject matter that is addressed.

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