The Weight of Him by Ethel Rohan follows "Big Billy Brennan", a man who is over 400 pounds as he attempts to publicly lose weight to bring awareness to suicide after the death of his teenage son, Michael. Billy's family just want peace after Michael's suicide, not to bring about the spectacle that they feel has been created as Billy hosts walks in Michael's honor and promotes his cause in the media. While his parents, children and wife are not by his side, Billy finds many people who are, including other family members of suicide victims.
I found this book to be a bit more depressing than hopeful. I believe that the author intended it to be hopeful and there were some hopeful parts but the overall novel just didn't move me the way that I would have hoped. There were some very insightful thoughts on suicide and death, in general, towards the end of the book but the book mostly centered around Billy's struggle to lose weight and "save lives". The characters felt a bit one-dimensional and even though Billy stated that he wished to save lives by raising awareness of suicide, his actions seemed to me to be more self-serving than self-sacrificing. He ignores his family's feelings about the publicity and fashions himself after a soldier who is going to war with suicide. Almost all of the narrative is about Billy and almost devoid of any stories about his family or even about the son who he states he is doing all of this for. Even though I didn't enjoy the story or the characters as much as I would have hoped, I still enjoyed this author's writing style. It is very smooth and easy to read. Rohan's writing style reminds me of the bright, spring-like writing of Liane Moriarty. I would be interested in reading more from this author in order to feel that hopefulness in the writing. I do think there is an audience for this book but it just didn't work for me.
This book will be available on February 14, 2017 and can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.
received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in order to
review it but that did not have an effect on my review of the book.
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