Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf: Review

Seven year old Calli Clark hasn't spoken a word in 3 years. She can't tell people what she wants or needs. She can't tell people why she doesn't speak. Calli and her mom Antonia and brother Ben manage quite well even though they all struggle with Calli's muteness. Things aren't so good when Griff, Ben and Calli's Dad, is home from the pipeline. He drinks heavily and he's a mean drunk. When he's wasted, everyone is the enemy, including his own family.

Early one morning, Calli and her friend Petra disappear into the woods. Petra's parents and Antonia are beside themselves with worry. Antonia believes Griff has gone fishing and has nothing to do with the girls. Everyone else isn't so sure.

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf suspenseful and often disturbing mystery told from the point of view of several the characters. Each chapter starts with a different person as they try to make sense of what is happening to the 2 girls. Often we get to see that person's past history and how they ended up where they are within the story. Every character but one is told in the first person. I have to say, I really enjoyed the way Gudenkauf chose to tell the story. It helped to reveal the thoughts of each of them without giving away too much, too soon.

At times, I found the novel too tense for me. I had to skip ahead to the next person and my heart would have popped right out of my chest. Cheating, I know, but if I didn't find out what was happening with particular characters, I just wouldn't have been able to read on.

There is quite a bit of violence and alcoholism is a major part of the novel. Griff is a real puppy kicker, to put it mildly. Why does Antonia stay? That's a difficult question to answer. I was often frustrated with her rationalizing. While Calli is the darling of this story, I wanted to stand up and cheer for her brother Ben. If a character can steal the show (book), it's Ben. Standing Ovation!

I don't want to say too much more about it as I believe you have to experience the way I did- with little knowledge of the plot. I will say...

Highly recommended.

Reviewed as part of the TLC Book Tour for The Weight of Silence.

***Until Sept 15 you can use the coupon code SILENCE10 for 10% off The Weight of Silence at eHQ for print or digital. The coupon can be redeemed at eharlequin.com.***


  1. I'll confess to peeking ahead to the end.

    However, I agree. The less you know going in to this one, the better.

  2. This book sounds emotionally gut wrenching, yet I can't wait to read it!

  3. Thank you for taking the time to read The Weight of Silence and for the wonderful review! Ben was my favorite character as well!

  4. So glad you enjoyed this one. I just got it and can't wait to read it!

  5. You've piqued my curiosity. I'll look out for this.

  6. This one's on my wish list already. Great review!

  7. I'm so glad you liked the book, Chris! I know what you mean about needing to read ahead, but I've been trying not to do that since it became a bad habit. But that just meant I was practically speed reading because my heart was racing! :)

    Thanks for your (as usual) thoughtful review!


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