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Thursday, July 19, 2012 12:47 PM

I read The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf in one sitting. So it’s an easy read. A good read, though? Not exactly. It did hold my attention, as the author threw in little curveballs along the way to keep one reading the book. Overall, though, once I read the final page, I remained deeply unsatisfied.

The story revolves around two little girls who go missing one morning in a small Iowa town. Calli is a seven-year-old with selective mutism; she hasn’t spoken since she was a toddler. Petra is her best friend and “voice,” as she understands Calli and speaks for her. The story takes place over the course of this one day, the day the girls go missing, and it focuses on the search by the girls’ families, revealing secrets about many of the townspeople along the way.

The book is structured so that each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character. This is not my favorite format. I can get into it sometimes, though. In this case, it irritated me. I think part of the reason is the author didn’t give each character a distinct voice, so much of the time I’d forget from which character’s point of view I was reading. I also didn’t connect with any characters and found them unlikeable for the most part. Calli’s mother, for example, made questionable decisions throughout the book, and I could not understand the motivation. I just wanted to slap her silly sometimes.

This book was anti-climactic in the most severe way. The resolution came way before the book’s ending, and I had long ago figured out who the “bad guy” was; I’m never able to do that. Events were largely contrived in various ways throughout. In the end, I found myself not even caring anymore, but I wanted to finish the book since I’d come so far.

There are a few elements that might mildly captivate the reader, such as discovering the reason Calli stopped speaking, which was maybe the only interesting fact for me. All in all, The Weight of Silence is a light book that really doesn’t say much at all.

Sara Berelsman lives in Fort Jennings with her husband and their two daughters. She has an MA in literature and leads the book club discussions at the Delphos public Library.


Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:47 PM

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