I recently went to PA to celebrate the release of Shawn Smucker’s latest book The Weight of Memory. It was a really fun opportunity to get away, to meet Shawn and his wife and some other friends I’ve been getting to know via a writer’s group I am a part of.
In traditional Shawn style, this book grips you from the start and does not let you go. It has been a really long time since I fell into a book. I asked my husband, “Is it that I am not in a reading season, or am I reading the wrong books?” I consumed this book. Don’t call me for dinner, I don’t care that it’s time for bed, leave me alone until I am able to fully take in this story and process it.
The story opens with Paul Elias receiving a terminal diagnosis. He decides to take this granddaughter, Pearl, back to where he grew up. Paul is Pearl’s caregiver and the only adult in her life. He hopes by taking her to the place he remembers so fondly he can find someone to take care of her after he dies.
But all is not as Paul remembers and arriving in town he is forced to confront what has changed and the memories of his wife who drowned in the lake forty years before. When Pearl starts disappearing and speaking about a woman who also haunted his wife, Paul begins to realize there is more to things than he ever imagined.
Someone said that The Weight of Memory is like waking through a dream… That is the best way I can describe it. One where you want to stay and look around, where you are curious about what comes next, where there is a plot propelling you forward to keep searching, keep reading, keep pursuing. I am a huge fan of Shawn’s work and this book again manages to ask questions around an issue we are uncomfortable with (death, our mortality, etc.) in a way that makes it accessible and easy to wrestle with.
This is a book you fall into and enjoy the opportunity to swim around and get immersed in. Here’s to a writer that does not shy away from hard questions and keeps you hooked from beginning to end.
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