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.
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."
I enjoy literary fiction with character depth and psychological exploration. I am in my 50s, work in psychology, and love the outdoors.
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.
I am someone who enjoys audible books very much now that they exist. As a young student (real young) I can remember a teacher telling me how books can transport people to different places & open up a whole new world. This is how listening to audible books make me feel. Now if I can just stop falling asleep while listening to them at night I would be fine. Ha ha
No, becasue I rarely listen to books twice
It was easy to guess when given the choice
It was pretty good
I thought this book touched upon subjects that were difficult for people to hear, like domeatic violence, poor parenting, hidden insecurities, murder of children. And for these reasons made it less enjoyable for me.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
I downloaded and started this book, stopped for lack of interest and removed it from my iPhone. A week later, because I couldn't quite get it out of my mind, reloaded it and began to listen again. So glad I did. It was worth the time, even though this is a somewhat horrendous family drama that consumes a small community and is a story that makes you hurt while listening.
A true love left unfulfilled, a child's selective mutism, an alcoholic parent, and domestic violence make for a good deal of gloom and drama. Yet there are amazing bright, wonderful parts of the book, especially the relationship between two little six year old girls and the way in which brother Ben becomes a young hero in more ways than one.
I rather liked the narrations -- each reader giving voice to a different character. All seemed very appropriate, except Ben's voice could have/should have been a bit more adolescent.
The prologue of this story wraps things up with a perfect bow -- almost too perfectly I think. Most events of this type don't have happy endings across the board for all those involved. Some wounds simply don't heal without deep, enduring scars and real life is quite a bit more complicated than this author conceived.
Nevertheless, a good read.
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.
Addicted to Audible!
I found this book to be boring and not at all original. I would not waste my credits. It has a great premise but the author does not deliver in my opinion.
I love books!
First time author, debut novel for this author. I'm not sure why I thought this but it seemed this author's books were going to be of the good two shoes kind of books, maybe due to the titles of her books. The summary seemed interesting about two little girls that were taken from their homes in small town Iowa. Whatever i was thinking I was pleasantly surprised as the book was hard hitting right from the start and, yes, there were two little girls at the center of the story but it wasn't about innocence at all, quite the opposite. It was one of those books where you kept thinking about, wanting to get back to it and in the end I just sat down and finished it. One thing that drew me to this author is that she is a graduate of the University of Iowa as am I. I will for sure choose a second book from her.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
This book was chillingly familiar to me . . . I'm the child of an alcoholic . . . the woods and the river were my refuge, my peace, my place. I totally get it. I never had an older brother to protect me and I was never mute. I was the oldest child, and I was my own parent, just like Ben, Calli's older brother had to be. I listened with terror as Griff, Calli's dad took her off into the woods the morning he should have gone fishing. And then my terror escalated as Petra, looking out her window and seeing familiar faces followed. Heather Gudenkauf is an excellent writer, giving us the back story of Petra's parents, and of Antonia's childhood with her best friend, Lou who she fell in love with. Not all alcoholics have a mean and abusive heart, but Griff did, and unfortunately it does seem that most wives choose to placate them as Antonia did, at the detriment of herself and her children. There are many, many layers to this story, and a lot to think about. I, for one, am glad that Heather Gudenkauf wrote it, and I feel sure that beyond being an excellent book, it will be a healing balm to lots of children and families of alcoholics.
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