Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

An employee at Borders recommended this book. I told my book club about it and we decided to read it.

This is a story about a little girl who doesn't speak. She's a selective mute. She can speak, but she won't. She and her friend disappear one morning and the novel is about the family and law officers attempt to figure out what happened and find the children.

It's been a while since I read this, so I don't remember the exact details. I remember that the story held my interest. I didn't find it boring. But I also remember that the storyline seemed to get a little absurd. There were several villains in this story, and one seemed to appear near the end and wasn't really tied to the rest of the story. I don't want to give away spoilers, but I thought it seemed a bit odd.

What mostly stands out to me though is the mother in the story. There are few things that annoy me more than the sympathetic treatment of a neglectful mother. The mother in this story is portrayed as so pretty and so innocent and so abused and weak. All the men want her, even if just to make sure the other men can't have her. She made me so angry, and I don't think that was the author's intention. As I was reading this though, I felt like the mother was largely to blame because she should have gathered her children and gotten the hell out of the abusive situation in which they lived. She had family and friends who would have helped her, but she instead chose to be dependent on a man who beat her.

It was an okay book. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. I didn't like the characters very much. I even found the little girl annoying. Maybe it's just my general dislike of small town, rural life and their different value system that annoyed me. I'm a city girl and I like reading about people in cities.

Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

I am a huge fan of the TV show, Bones. Bones is based on the life of Kathy Reichs, who writes a series of books about a character named Temperance Brennan. If you watch the show, you may have noticed that in the show, Temperance (Bones) is a novelist, who writes a series of books about a character named Kathy Reichs. Anyway... Deja Dead is the first book in the Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brenan series. I'm always looking for a good mystery novel, and a great series to dive into would be especially nice, so I decided to start with this book.

I liked the story well enough. But the character of Temperance is so, so different from the character on the show. In the book, she lives in Canada and she's a recovering alcoholic and divorced with a grown daughter. She seems tired and weary and sad. She seems to be missing a lot of the traits that I love about the character on the show. On the show, Bones doesn't care about dating, she's not worried about her family, she's too involved in work to pay attention to anything else.

If I could view this book as something completely separate from the show, I may have liked it more. But I was a little disappointed. Also, I felt there were some weird coincidences. She happens to be helping out on a case and then, oh look at that, the killer is also stalking her because he happens to have newspaper articles about her in his house. I remember thinking that was odd because he would have had to have targeted her before he had any clue that she would be involved. I was also bothered that the criminal was able to get so close to her, and there seemed to be a lot of physical violence. I think I've said before, I'm more drawn to the intellectual investigations, less direct involvement with the killers.

I wanted to like this book so much that I would felt compelled to read the rest of the series. But I didn't feel that. I may read the other books, but I didn't feel the need to rush out and get the second book.

Finished reading Jan. 18 around 4 a.m.