Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf


Calli Clark, a selective mutism since she was 4 years old. Dreamer, sweet, and calming.
Petra Gregory, a talkactive girl. Cheerfull, brave, and extraordinary.

They are best friends. These seven years old girls always come together, Petra is used to be Calli's voice. Nobody know how could Petra understand what's inside Calli's mind, what she likes to eat, what she wants to play, what she needs to do. Petra receives Calli just the way she is, and vice versa.

And one gloomy morning, both of them had disappeared. Nobody saw them, their parents took them into each other bed at previous night, and found it's empty in the morning.

Sheriff Louis is Calli's mother's -Antonia- best friend. He even had a history with her. Would he tell Antonia that he suspected Griff, Calli's violent father, Antonia's husband, who had kidnapped Calli? Was Griff do it?And why did he take Petra with them?

The Weight of Silence tells about family, how different people come and unite a family, and don't recognize how different they are, until a tragedy happens. First chapter brought me into fast adrenaline, when one of the girls is dragged to forest, and the other girl follow them. Next chapter is really riveting, it has slow plot, like every family drama novel, explain every character's background and history. The center is Calli's mutism, how an active girl turned to a total silence one, what has happened when she saw her mother's miscarriage 3 years ago. Then, how her mutism affected her family. Her mother is frustated, her father is becoming more severe drunker, and often do violence to Calli and her brother.

Then come Petra, a genuine young girl, who always help Calli at school. She help her against mean kids, and scary subtitute teacher. What interesting is Petra's characteristic, which is likeable person. She always comes with outstanding ideas, frequently assist her father's problematic students. Who knows that someday it'll turn against her?

This is the first time I read Heather Gudenkauf's, and she reminds me to Jody Picoult. They both have similar note, detailed characterization, ordinary life with twisted family's secret. I enjoy it page by page, not in hurry to know who's the kidnapper, and it feels good to know, even in the worst family, there's love indeed. Life is choices, and you'll see how every characters make a choice, regret it, and be grateful after realizing that their bad choices bring some kindness after all.

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