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.
©2009 Heather Gudenkauf; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
"Every so often you get really lucky, and a book comes along that just knocks your socks off: an absorbing, engrossing, suspenseful read that you just want to keep paging through, a novel that feels a lot like running downhill - fast and a little breathless - until it all winds down and wraps up. The Weight of Silence is exactly this kind of book.... Jodi Picoult has some serious competition in Heather Gudenkauf. [She is] an author to watch.” (Bookreporter.com)
"Deeply moving and exquisitely lyrical, this is a powerhouse of a debut novel. Heather Gudenkauf is one of those rare writers who can tell a tale with the skill of a poet while simultaneously cranking up the suspense until it's unbearable." (Tess Gerritsen)
"Gudenkauf moves the story forward at a fast clip and is adept at building tension. There's a particular darkness to her heartland, rife as it is with predators and the walking wounded, and her unsentimental take on the milieu manages to find some hope without being maudlin." (Publishers Weekly)
The point of view and the various narrators was at first confusing. Once I figured out all the characters, it was very entertaining and a unique way of storytelling. I really enjoyed that there were several narrators and not just one. It was never difficult telling one character from the other.
Ben challenging his father.
When Callie described Antonia's playtime with she and Ben.
When Ben defends Callie and Petra.
This was an entertaining book with an interesting story line and unique way of presentation. The narration was very enjoyable. However, Antonia's actions and words, and to a lesser degree, Martin and his wife's were extremely irritating. The three parents acted as though they didn't want to help with the search for their children by their lack of cooperation with the authorities. I found myself yelling and cursing out loud at Antonia's foolishness many times. Antonia's lifelong choices, her refusal to recognize and accept the root of the family's problems and her inactivity in protecting her children were more than I could bear many times. I do understand her actions were typical of a woman in a marriage such as hers, but the protection of her children should have overridden the lack of action and refusal to accept the reality of their situation.
I am very conflicted about this book. I finished it two days ago and still can't figure out how to review it.
Calli Clark, a selective mute child, and Petra Gregory, her best friend, go missing the same morning. As the book is told in a roundabout by six different characters, you know where the girls are -- in the beginning. Antonia, Calli's mother; Martin, Petra's father; Deputy Sheriff Lewis, Antonia's high school boyfriend; Ben, Calli's brother; Calli, and Petra. You find that Calli has been dragged into the woods by her alcoholic father in a rage. Petra has followed someone into the woods.
I really liked that a different reader read each part. That helped to give the book some substance. Unfortunately, the writer did not. The central theme is silence. Calli is mute by choice, although no reason is given. Although you'd have to be an idiot not to figure out why. But everyone in the Clark family is keeping secrets. So there is more silence than just Calli. Petra is Calli's "voice." Her family is pretty normal. If they have secrets, I never found them.
The investigation into the two girls' disappearance is just sad. Badly handled by the police and the FBI. Not so much bumbling as inattentive to the point of disinterest in the welfare of the two girls. And the ultimate solving of the mystery is flat. No way for the reader to solve it.
So why then, was I compelled to finish this book? I suspect because I listened to it rather than reading it. I really did enjoy the multiple voices. I don't I would have finished it in print. Oh well, I'm still conflicted about this book.
This is at the top of the list. Loved the way the story unfolds. Cant wait for more from Gudenkauf!
Ben because he wanted nothing more than to be the protector of his little sister and mother.
Couldn't pick one. All narrators were top notch in my book! Each kept me engaged in the story.
Well worth a credit! Wonderful listen/read!
I enjoyed the story, and I couldn't wait to find out how it would turn out.
I enjoyed the performance.
The different voices and view points.
Callie because she is the central character.
I felt like it took too long to get the girls "found."
loved how this book was narrated. The story l\was developed so well in the voice of the characters! Could not put it aside.. I am no listening to second title These Things Hidden.
Life's good when I am listening to a great book.
This book comes ever so close to being four stars but just barely misses the mark. I did enjoy the listen all the way through except that Griff, the father of Calli, is an unlikeable, ignorant, mean man with zero redeeming qualities presented in his character. Thus, I could not stop feeling angst about why the wife and mother of his children (Antonia) could not break out of the cycle of violence. She was presented as a good mother who was intelligent, thoughtful and beautiful but she tolerated his abuse and failed to protect and understand her children. The story's credibility was compromised because of this but, then again, that is the oppression of silence. I found the premise of Calli's selective mutism to be credible. The disappearance of the girls was well developed and exciting. The author also created an interesting twist as she had the two families coping together with the disappearance of their daughters. The narration of this book was well done but, again, Griff is such a creep and sounds like such a creep, I couldn't get past it. If the author's intention is to make the reader hate Griff, she did a great job. Maybe you better read this book yourself and see what you think.
A very well-written novel that held my interest. Not perfect with a hit-you-over-the-head theme of the title's namesake, but very entertaining nonetheless. Excellent writing with the various points-of-views and lots of twists and turns along the way.
Not too crazy about the brushed off, letdown of an ending, but getting there was the real strength.
Loved all the narrators---I thought they did a beautiful job of defining each character.
This was a compelling, well acted story. However, when it was over, I felt strangely confused and unsatisfied by the behavior of some of the characters. The character of Antonia, as read, sounded far too self-aware and mature to allow her life to have evolved the way it did. The character of Griff had almost no redeeming qualities - why did she stay with him? Why didn't she get her kids any real therapy, especially Calli, when it was obvious they needed it? I guess she was the classic battered wife, but still....And Sheriff Lewis was no prince - he didn't even blink when his wife did what she did. The narrator for Martin sounded like a robot. My worst complaint was that it was too easy to figure out the ending once I realized which of the characters was undeveloped. For all these reasons, only four stars.
Overly descriptive and unnecessarily detailed. Calli's mother can't just give her hot chocolate, it must be "steaming hot chocolate with white, fluffy marshmallows". She can't leave her hiding place; it must be her "twiggy den", and "footfalls" are on "spongy earth" and "lacey ferns" Her father's voice "hisses accross the delicate crevices of her ears". The reminescenses of the children are too cute and maudlin by far. I found the narration quite irritating. Calli's narrator was all breathy and earnest. Ben, who is twelve, has observations like the silence of the woods "gave nothing back". Yeah, I know a lot of twelve year olds who'd say that to themselves. It was also weird that while all the other characters are written in the first person, Calli's part is written in the third. Why? I stopped listening so I can't comment on the plot.
The author certainly held my attention. The story moved forward well keeping me in suspence and anticipation. The narrators were excellant. I have to admit that I guessed who the culprit was well before the end but I enjoyed the story.
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