Do you ever read a book that just totally sucks you in and twists your emotions? Well this was one of those books for me, which is surprising, because a lot of times I feel like first time authors just don't have that kind of power. But this was definitely a good one, which I would recommend to fans of Jodi Picoult or Anita Shreve.
"The Weight of Silence" Heather Gudenkauf's debut novel, is a real nail bitter, full of drama and suspense. In a small Iowa town, a young girl Callie has not spoken in 4 years. Callie awakes one morning and surprises her drunk father, who drags her into the woods. Callie's best friend also disappears the same morning, setting off a day of frantic searching and high emotions from the parents of both girls. When the girls are finally found, both have injuries and questions swirl as to what happened to them. Only Callie can provide the answers, but will she talk?
I was impressed with this debut effort from Gudenkauf. The novel is fast paced and full of emotion, but does not feel overwrought like some other similar novels that I have read. I thought it was interesting how Gudenkauf switched between the perspectives of the different characters, because it allowed the reader to see the action from different perspectives without revealing the twist at the end of the novel. It also allowed her to explore how different members of the families reacted to the events, which really gave the characters and the novel as a whole a satisfying depth.
If you enjoy books by Anita Shreve and Jodi Picolt, I would recommend that you try Gudenkauf. I'm interested to see what this promising author produces next.