In The Weight of Him Billy Brennan undergoes an unforgettable journey in a startling attempt to resurrect his family and reignite hearts, his own most of all.
At four hundred pounds, Billy can always count on food. From his earliest memories, he has loved food’s colors, textures and tastes. The way flavors go off in his mouth. How food keeps his mind still and his bad feelings quiet. Food has always made everything better, until the day Billy’s beloved son Michael takes his own life.
Billy determines to make a difference in Michael’s memory and undertakes a public weight-loss campaign, to raise money for suicide prevention–his first step in an ambitious plan to save himself, and to save others. However, Billy’s dramatic crusade appalls his family, who want to simply try to go on, quietly, privately.
Despite his crushing detractors, Billy gains welcome allies: his community-at-large; a co-worker who lost his father to suicide; a filmmaker with his own dubious agenda; and a secret, miniature kingdom that Billy populates with the sub-quality dolls and soldiers he saves from disposal at the toy factory where he works. But it is only if Billy can confront the truth of the suffering and brokenness within and around him that he and others will be able to realize the recovery they need.
Told against the picturesque yet haunting backdrop of rural, contemporary Ireland, The Weight of Him is a big-hearted novel about loss and reliance that moves from tragedy to recrimination to what can be achieved when we take the stand of our lives.
The Weight of Him by Ethel Rohan was a heartfelt read. I felt the deep connection to the characters pain. An overweight father stressing over the loss and pain of losing his son. His wife seems to have pulled away from him completely. No touching her for pain of her moving away from his touch. The father is determined to lose weight and make it a memorable thing for his dead son. There are others who have lost someone due to suicide. The father isn’t alone. The tale carries the heavy weight of the dead son on every page. Loss, grief, blame, denial, and then finally admitting the feelings of having lost the child. His wife opens up…his other son is still alive. Life will move forward. Slowly but memory of their son stays with them forever. The loss of a child is something we all can relate to as well as losing a loved one to suicide. Eating ourselves up for the death of that loved one. Thinking we could have done something different to stop it. Then, the question as to why the son killed himself plagued the father. Why…
The Weight of Him is a steady paced novel. Full of darkness overshadowing a family. They’re struggling with the death of a son and brother. The father’s journey of overcoming the darkness was powerfully told. I enjoyed watching him take on the pain and trying to keep his family together. Death has a way of breaking things. Hearts are broken. Readers take on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Ethel Rohan has masterfully created a realistic telling of the sad reality of life. It’s not always picture perfect not a happily ever after. It’s a scale whose bad days sometimes out weigh the good ones. Overall, I recommend the book to all.