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The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

The Weight of Silence

“I often look back upon that day, so long ago, and wonder how it was we all survived.” These words told by Calli; six years after that day that changed her, her family, and close friends forever!

The Weight of Silence is a book written by Heather Gudenkauf. Throughout the story the point of view is changed with every chapter. There is Calli, Petra, Ben, Antonia, Martin, Fielda, Deputy Sheriff Louis, and Griff. Griff is Antonia’s husband and Ben and Calli are their children. Martin and Fielda are married with Petra as their child. Deputy Sheriff Louis was one of the first policemen to go help the families at the beginning of that horrible August day. Calli is an 8 year old girl. She looks normal, but there’s something wrong with her. Calli does not speak. She was silenced at the age of 4 when she saw her pregnant mom fall down the stairs. Calli has gone mute since then. She learned a little sign language. Most importantly the sign for bathroom. Her true voice was spoken through Petra. Petra was Calli’s voice, at school and at home. It was if they talked mentally. They just understood each other. Calli’s life isn’t the best, though. Her father Griff drinks, and he is not the nicest guy when he is drunk.

The book starts off on an early August morning. Griff was supposed to go fishing with his friend Roger that day. Calli had woken up early, because she had to use the bathroom. Griff was sitting in the doorway of the door. While Calli quietly walked to the bathroom, Griff heard her. Griff started talking to her and Roger arrived. When he did, he told Griff it was time to go. Griff told Roger to go and he’d catch up with him later. Griff drags Calli into the woods. He told her they were going in search of her real dad, Deputy Sheriff Louis. He mistakenly thinks this because he is drunk and knows about the history between Louis and Antonia. Calli could not scream, she was mute. Just like she has been for the past 4 years.

A couple hours later martin wakes up to find his daughter, Petra, gone missing. He calls the police and Deputy Sheriff Louis and him go to Calli’s house. Calli is Petra’s best friend, maybe she had gone there. Antonia answers the door. Martin and Deputy Sheriff Louis explain. Antonia goes up to Calli’s room to get her, but what she finds is an empty room. Griff cannot be reached, neither can Roger. You, the reader, knows things the other characters don’t, but the author also keeps some secrets to the end. Everyone wonders, two little girls gone missing….are they just out playing?

Both families are forced to work together to try and solve the case. The girls are not found by the police, and they are found together, both hurt. Griff standing close by. Slowly the case unravels. Read the book to find out the secrets hidden behind silence.

I thought this was a good book. Although it is slow to get to the point, it is very suspenseful at times. This book taught me that “the weight of silence” is heavy. It is better to speak up and say what’s on your mind. I recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense, crime, or drama. Read The Weight of Silence! Heather is a relatively new author so this is one of her only books out now. There is another expected to be out in 2011.





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