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The Weight of Silence

A book by Heather Gudenkauf

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"If worry was an effective weight loss program, women would be invisible." Nancy Drew

  • Oct 2, 2010
One summer morning, Martin Gregory comes to Calli  Clark's home. Martin's daughter, Petra, hasn't been home and he wonders if she's with Calli. When Antonia Clark, Calli's mother, checks her room, she's shocked to find that Calli hadn't slept at home either.

Calli is a seven-year-old who suffers from selective mutism due to an incident she she was a toddler. Her father, Griff, is an abusive alcoholic who lets Calli know that he doubts that he is really her father and even lets her know that he doesn't like her living in his home.

Her brother, Ben, tries to take care of her but he's only a boy himself. He does go to look for his sister.

Antonia and Sheriff Louis were formerly involved and some suspect there is more to their relationship.

We learn of the argument that Calli's parent's had and how her father abused her.

The reader is given the events of the story from the character's point of view, thus giving the story a more personal knowledge of the events.

I enjoyed the spunkiness of Calli and the courageousness of her twelve-year-old brother, Ben. He seemed like a Tom Sawyer type of character to me.  Calli's mother isn't very likable or sympathetic. She's a rather submissive character, perhaps symbolic of an abused wife.

The story was well told but the conclusion was a bit too convenient.

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More The Weight of Silence reviews
review by . April 01, 2011
The Weight of Silence is an impressive novel for many reasons. It tells a complex story in a unique way, it masters the multiple perspectives well, and it kept me enthralled from beginning to end.      It's a story of secrets held by time and silences kept for too long, and the awful cost this brings to two families and their community.      Beginning with the disappearance of two young girls, one of whom has not spoken in years, the story jumps from character …
review by . January 11, 2010
I am usually not a fan of thrillers but found this book so engrossing that I could not put it down. I read it in one afternoon (which is rare for me).     I have read many reviews with recaps of the story so I will refrain from rehasing the story again and possibly giving anything away since it is a thriller.    As other reviewers have noted, the chapters are set up based on the point of view of several of the main characters. I thought this was an excellent …
review by . October 22, 2009
When two young girls go missing in the woods, the answers to their disappearance lie in the secrets of the past. This novel was riveting- once I started it, I just couldn't put it down. As the story of the girls is revealed, the clues to their disappearance gradually reveal a very different story than I was expecting. I found it difficult to relate to some of the characters, especially Antonia, but regardless was pulled along by the power of the narrative. This is an excellent debut novel with an …
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Mike Draper ()
Ranked #54
Michael A.Draper retired from working as a financial planner with Mass Mutual.   Married to Diana for 48 years, one son and daughter-in-law and two lovely granddaughters.      … more
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About this book


Gudenkauf's tightly plotted debut packs a lot of unsavory doings into a few unfortunate summer days in Willow Creek, Iowa. Seven-year-old Calli Clark hasn't spoken a word in the three years since a particularly nasty run-in with her violent, wife-beating father, Griff. During a bender, Griff suddenly decides to haul his mute daughter into the nearby forest, where they get lost. At the same time, Calli's best friend Petra goes missing, and a manhunt is launched, led by deputy sheriff Loras Louis, who still carries a torch for Calli's mother. 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.(Aug.)
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ISBN-10: 077832740X
ISBN-13: 978-0778327400
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Mira

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