NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

3.0 out of 5 stars Two little girls go missing in the night..., April 29, 2011
I was expecting this to be a terrific read based on recommendations from several book lovers I know and admire. Unfortunately, in many ways, the novel fell short of my expectations and I turned the last page feeling let down and disappointed. I do tend to end up judging my books by the ending -- and this was part of the reason that I rated it only as 3 stars which means "it's OK" to me.

The story premise -- two little 7 year-old girls, Calli and Petra, vanish from their separate homes in the middle of a hot Iowa night. They live in an isolated area that is surrounded by woods and it is there that much of the main story action is focused. Calli Clark is a selective mute -- she hasn't spoken a word since a tragedy she witnessed at age 4. Her best friend, Petra Gregory, is her voice and has protected Callie since they met.

One morning, Calli's drunken brute of a father, Griff, drags her into the woods. Around the same time, for reasons not given to the reader, Petra leaves her house as well. When the girls are discovered missing, Deputy Sheriff Loras Louis launches a search for the girls. The deputy also happens to be the ex-boyfriend of Calli's mother, Antonia, and though he's married, he is of course still in love with her. The whole love triangle aspect of this book was completely predictable and left a negative impression on me and decreased my appreciation of the novel.

The drama surrounding the disappearance and the reactions of the parents of the girls and Calli's brother Ben provided the best suspense of the book. The story was told, however, in different points of view and the characters never seemed to find their own individual voice so I didn't end up really connecting with any of them.

The resolution falls flat and the epilogue, though it tied up all the loose ends, did not satisfy. I don't know if I will read this author's next book or not.

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