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The Weight of Silence

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  33,747 Ratings  ·  3,408 Reviews
It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night.

Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler.

Calli's mother, Antonia, tried to be the bes
Paperback, 373 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by Mira (first published August 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Dec 27, 2012 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of suspense / mysteries with a preference for non-graphic content
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Hooked by Title and Cover
The Weight of Silence –I was drawn by the fabulous title. Keeping secrets is a coping skill we've all used, when taken to the extreme it can be deadly. Silence is this novel’s binding theme, hammered home by her choice to have the main character Calli a selective mute; a theme that lifts it above the slew of other child abduction stories currently on the market.
Calli and her best friend Petra go missing in the middle of the night. The suspicion is kidnapping, her alcoholic father the prime susp
Mar 25, 2010 Abby rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. I really did. It looked very fascinating on the Barnes and Noble top reads table and I waited for 3 months on a 200 person list to get it from the library. But this book was nothing special, and was undeserving of all the hype, in my opinion.

The basic plotline has been touched on already...two young girls, (one of who is a selective mute, for reasons unknown to anyone) neighbors and best friends, each go missing one morning and their families and the town sheriff go l
Dec 21, 2009 Mallory rated it liked it
This one had 4 stars until the end, which totally ruined it. There were some good moments, but all things considered, this reads like it was the author's first book and she has some growing to do.

One thing I liked was that, though the author toys with the oh-so-trendy multiple narrator/first person writing in each chapter, the chapters from Calli, a select mute's, perspective were in third person past tense. An interesting choice which bodes well for future writing, but it didn't really play off
Jan 16, 2010 Kristine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like family dramas with a bit of mystery
Recommended to Kristine by: Katherine Montanez
Shelves: read-in-2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Funmi Adetunji
Jun 15, 2013 Funmi Adetunji rated it did not like it
This book strikes me as the work of a beginning author. The writing is amateurish, and the characters are extremely under-developed. The narrator switches between several main characters, but as one reviewer commented, all of their voices blend into one indistinct blur. Calli, the main character, has none of the little-girl-charm that keeps readers glued. Just because she doesn't talk doesn't mean she shouldn't have a personality! Calli's dad, another abusive-angry-father stereotype (pretty easy ...more
Aug 18, 2009 Errin rated it really liked it
This book is one of the few books I gave 5 stars to. It was, in two words, absolutely beautiful. It's been a while since I can hardly make my eyes move across the page fast enough. Reading some of the reviews on here, I see not everyone thought it was as awesome as I did, but for some reason, this book really 'spoke' to me.

The characters Ben and Petra especially touched my heart.

"You ran upstairs to your room and wouldn't even look at me for the next ten days. But I knew you were sorry. I kept f
Nov 19, 2014 Amanda rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 25, 2013 Erica rated it did not like it
I'm not even going to bother continuing this tripe. A super duper wonderful little girl is a selective mute, and one morning she and another super duper wonderful little girl go missing. There's not a single moment of suspense, since both super duper wonderful little girls are POV characters at different points of the book, so we know they're not dead or hurt, unless it turns out they're ghosts! Wouldn't put that past this writer.

So let's go through our stock character collection: We've got the
Aug 11, 2014 Aoibhínn rated it it was amazing
An absolutely amazing novel! I found it very hard to put this novel down. This is one of those books, were you're desperate to get to the end, to find out the outcome, but at the same time, you don't want the novel to end. Heather Gudenkauf writes from the perspective of each character, and her descriptions of the violence and the fear that surround Calli and Ben are both breathtaking and heart-wrenching.
I will preface this review by stating that once I picked up this book, I could not put it down.

This novel, set in rural, small-town Iowa on a hot summer day, centers around the tragic day in the lives of two American families. Two seven year old girls, neighbours and best friends to one another, go missing from their respective homes on the same early summer morning. The novel chronicles the search for the missing girls.

I love mysteries and suspenseful reads, but I generally anticipate these t
Amy Hatvany
May 08, 2013 Amy Hatvany rated it really liked it
I tore through this book over two days...the author does a fantastic job with building suspense around the search for two missing little girls.

Ruth Turner

For the most part this was an enjoyable read. Just a couple of things bugged me.

The first was the multiple narrators. The chapters all read the same to me. If I got interrupted I often had to scroll back to the beginning of the chapter to find out who's pov it was.

The side story of Petra felt like an after thought.

And the ending. Everything was tied up a just little to neatly and left me feeling flat.

Jul 17, 2016 Orient rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Kalbanti tyla gali būti sunkiai ištveriama. Ji gali priversti jaustis lyg sulėtintame kine, pasimetimo, bejėgiškumo ir baimės apsuptyje.

Visa tai knygoje yra pristatyta įtraukiančiai su įtampos ir paslapčių prieskoniu. Joje pateiktas nusikaltimas yra žiaurus ir pati istorija skamba kaip tikra non-fiction, bet prisipažinsiu – man palengvėjo kad ši knyga visgi yra vaizduotės vaisius. Bet tai nereiškia kad tikrovėje taip nebūna.
Man labai patiko kad kiekvienas skyrius atspindi vis kito veikėjo jaus
Donna Gilles
Jun 06, 2015 Donna Gilles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shelf-2
Quick read and a page turner for me. The author kept me guesses as to who was responsible in hurting Petra.
Carmaletta Hilton
Jul 28, 2009 Carmaletta Hilton rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 03, 2010 Karen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: not sure I would recommend it
The story line of this novel was good and I think the author had a good idea upon which to formulate a story. There were many smaller themes--small town life, childhood friendship, first loves, alcoholism and its effect on a family, etc. This story was told in pieces--both in present and in the past, recalled in the speaker's memories. I thought that was a fine vehicle to deliver this story and I also thought it interesting in whose voices the author chose to tell the story, and whose were not ...more
Steve Lindahl
Oct 01, 2011 Steve Lindahl rated it it was amazing
Heather Gudenkauf's novel The Weight of Silence is a nearly perfect book with a major flaw. I'm rating this book as five stars because it gives me as much of what I want out of a story as I can get. It's a page turner at times. It has believable and flawed characters. It makes me think about situations from other people's points of view. I can't ask for more than that. Still, I couldn't get my mind off of one problem while I was reading it.

Calli Clark is a young girl, five or six years old, in a
Jan 12, 2011 Louise rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book – I liked it and I didn’t like it. I felt the beginning was great but then began to get weighed down with way too many words and too many details and then seemed a long time in getting to the end. After all that, we never did find out why one girl was even taken!

At four years of age little Callie stopped talking due to something her father said to her on one particular day but no one knows about this other than Callie herself. Callie’s mother Antonia is hear
Lisa B
Feb 24, 2016 Lisa B rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone in a book group.
"The Weight of Silence" chronicles a day in the lives of two families whose daughters go missing. The reader learns what transpires through the alternating perspective of six lives who are impacted by the events. Although a deceptively easy read, this book immediately grabs your attention and makes you long to know what happens next. I don't think there is much question about who committed the crimes but I think this book is more of a character study than a mystery. Speaking of... the characters ...more
Dec 04, 2012 Deera rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This was a hard and heavy read. Two girls, best friends, go missing one day in the middle of the woods at 4:30 AM. The little town is frenzied by their dissapperance.

The author does well at developing the characters. She makes sure that you love some characters and hate others. Intially, I was disappointed because I thought I had predicted the ending but I was so very wrong. It took a completely different turn toward the end. There were some moments, however, that I thought the author went into
Knygos pirmą trečdalį skaičiau sunkokai. Nesu tikra, ar todėl, kad buvo "neskaitymo periodas", ar tiesiog reikėjo laiko susidomėti pasakojimu, susigaudyti tarp veikėjų ir veiksmo. Vis dėlto toliau istorija ėmė vis labiau įtraukti, įtampa kilo, ir tapo sunku atsitraukti (o miegas gali palaukti). Tai intriguojantis, sudėtingas pasakojimas apie tai, kaip iš namų dingsta dvi mažos mergaitės, apie jų paieškas, perteikiamas iš įvairių veikėjų pozicijų, papildant skirtingais jų išgyvenimais, veikėjų ...more
Jamie Waryn
Dec 10, 2013 Jamie Waryn rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing story! Absolutely loved this book.
Dec 09, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 13, 2011 Kristy rated it really liked it
Street Corner TBR Challenge
June pick #1 per Nomes.

It's amazing how not really all that much happened in this book, but how completely engrossed I was. It is pretty much a 24 hour timeline story, which I usually am not gaga over, but this one is an exception. The writing style is gorgeous. The characters are likeable. And, that ending..... I can't even claim to be a cool kid who predicted it.... Seriously, I was suprised!

Spoilers lie ahead....................

Callie is a selective mute, i.e., the
Nov 19, 2012 Britany rated it really liked it
I would give this one 3.5 stars.

2 young girls go missing one early morning and this book follows the day from many different character perspectives. Each chapter changes to another person and their take on what is going on. The way that the novel was laid out held my attention and made it really easy to keep reading right through it. I couldn't wait to see what happened in the end. I loved how when one chapter ended, the next chapter picked up right where the last one left off, without leaving
Nov 20, 2012 Penny rated it really liked it
This is a fast paced book about 2 young girls who are found to be missing early one morning. They live a few houses apart and one of the girl's fathers is also missing.

The story unfolds from the point of view of the mother of one child and the father of another, also the first girl's brother and the detective involved in the case.

This is a book which it is easy to get engrossed in and the author does a great job in getting the different 'voices' ( ironic too!!) to come through. The first girl wh
Jun 30, 2012 Rick rated it it was amazing
You know how, when you read a really great book, one you really love, that you slow down when you know you have those last few pages left, simply so you can savor them? The Weight of Silence was one of those books for me. Filled with heart-pounding suspense, unique, well-crafted characters that were all too human in their foibles and strengths, and a main character (Calli) whom I truly came to love, this is probably one of my favorite books this year. It's my first Heather Gudenkauf book and my ...more
Dec 02, 2012 Melodie rated it really liked it
Two little girls go missing in the wee hours of a summer morning. This is the premise of The Weight of Silence. This is a thriller/mystery of the first order.
All the characters have a voice(this seems to be a trend in books lately),so chapters are devoted to each characters perspective in the story. While of late I have found this an annoying trend, this book makes it work.
At times distressing and heart-breaking, but ultimately satisfying, this story kept me turning the page til the very end.
Jan 05, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it
What a great story full of secrets and who-did-it suspense! Keeps you guessing and interested throughout the entire book.

As two seven year old girls are found missing from their beds, Calli a selective mute and Petra her best friend, the search begins in the woods near their home with Calli's father, a mean drunk who is supposedly away on a fishing trip a likely suspect. The story is told from each character's perspective, Ben, Calli's brother, the girl's parents and Assistant Sheriff Louis, Cal

Jun 03, 2010 Anita rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult
I am trying something new. This book was very good, and sucked me in from the very beginning, and I finished in the 2nd day of reading. I just couldn’t put it down. There was a discussion guide in the back of the book – so I decided to answer the questions in the discussion guide. So beware, while the discussion guide had done a fairly good job of not asking questions that give too much away – I’m sure that you will get a basic jest of the story and might consider the following spoilers!! Don’t ...more
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  • The Lies We Told
  • Whistling In the Dark
  • Goodnight, Beautiful
  • The Good Sister
  • The Kindness of Strangers
  • Me & Emma
  • Saving Max
  • Best Kept Secret
  • Prayers and Lies
  • Hidden Wives
  • Life Without Summer
  • All the Numbers
  • Fragile
  • The Slow Moon
Heather is the NYT and USA Today Bestselling author of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE and MISSING PIECES.
More about Heather Gudenkauf...

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“But you know all about that, being sorry and having no words to say something when you know you should but you just can't” 60 likes
“Every five-year-old kid should have a pair of happy pajamas. (217)” 38 likes
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