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The Weight of Him Paperback – 1 Feb 2018
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The Weight of Him is an achingly sad, achingly lovely novel that speaks to the essential core of our shared human experience. I will not soon forget it. Ethel Rohan, a prodigiously skilled short story writer, has proved herself, in this debut novel, to be a master of the long form as well. -- Robert Olen Butler, author of PERFUME RIVER How can a story about death be so life affirming? Ethel Rohan's compassionate debut novel is sad, heartbreaking even, but also uplifting, a celebration of the determination to keep on trying. -- Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of MOTHERS, TELL YOUR DAUGHTERS Extraordinary. -- Caroline Leavitt Sweet and profound, true and honest, The Weight of Him is a book to make the world a better place. -- Elisabeth Gifford Ethel Rohan is a writer of great courage and emotional intelligence. She can also tell a damn good story. The Weight of Him is about loss and about life. It is involving, terrifying and ultimately quite beautiful. -- Tom Barbash, author of STAY UP WITH ME Deeply moving and memorable. -- Roxane Gay The Weight of Him conjures all the grief and regret of a family who has suffered an insurmountable loss. Out of this burning sorrow rises Big Billy Brennan, a father who attempts the seemingly impossible - to change the world. Ethel Rohan captures a blend of comedy and tragedy that is entirely true to family, hometown, and our own private struggles. Poignant and inspiring. -- Eowyn Ivey, international bestselling author of THE SNOW CHILD Ethel Rohan shows herself to be one of those rare, courageous writers who dare to take on the 'ordinary' and show just how extraordinary it really is. A brave and moving book. -- John Banville
'Ethel Rohan shows herself to be one of those rare, courageous writers who dare to take on the 'ordinary' and show just how extraordinary it really is. A brave and moving book.' John BanvilleSee all Product description
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Billy decides that he must do something to ensure that other families are not plunged in to the same situation and decides to lose half his body-weight and raise money to help suicide prevention. This decision does not sit well with the rest of his family.
The descriptions of Billy fighting with his demons to control his over-eating are frighteningly insightful to anyone who has struggled with dieting. His struggles to be a better person, re-building relationships with his remaining children and wife are written in a very believable way.
A difficult subject handled very well, especially as the ending was neatly tied up and boxed.
Best book I’ve read for ages.
I loved how the author really captured the grief and despair that had hit the family - the unanswered questions as to why their son had chosen to take his own life, the trying to stay strong for their other children and how it affected the relationship between the parents and children. As Billy sets out on a quest to use his weight loss as a positive in raising funds and awareness for the awfully high suicide rates, he meets others along the way in similar positions and also tries to get his message out to the media of just how important awareness is, and not just to be seen as a freak show because of his weight issues. He wants to take control back.
His family doesn't always support him on his journey and you can understand the torment they must all be going through - some wanting to hide away and not to have anymore attention brought to them - and I loved how Billy finds solace in the broken toys he 'liberates' from work and how he finds that connection back to happier times with his son Michael.
The topics discussed in this book are sympathetically dealt with by the author and really captures the conflicting feelings that those grieving are often left with, while looking back on happier times that they shared with Michael and trying to understand why they couldn't help him. Was it something they'd done? Why didn't he talk to them? Why?
A very powerful and poignant story with a number of layers and I can highly recommend it
I really enjoyed getting to know Billy and understood his problems with eating. I loved the writing style and the feelings that this story brought to me. I loved how threw everything into prevention of suicide. A great must read for 2017.
I loved the character of Billy and how he was in a way punishing himself by dieting and exercising excessively instead of doing it sensibly. Each member of his family are trying to cope with the loss of Michael in their own different ways and Billy is not supported or encouraged in any way.
I loved the scenes in the garage where he has made a village of broken toys and uses them to represent his family and it is so moving and you feel the pain he is going through.
A really good read that represents the grief and pain of coping with suicide and also the isolation that being morbidly obese can cause.
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