RELEASED: June 13, 2019
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury YA
FORMAT: Paperback [Courtesy of Waterstones Brussels!]
GENRE: YA Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
GOODREADS RATING: 3.93
TRIGGERS: MS, talk about death, drug dealing, drug use, euthanasia
REPS: LGBTQIA+, MS
`Child experts will tell you that I’m way too young to carry such a burden of responsibility on my tender shoulders. But really, what do they know?’ Who is Bobby Seed? He’s just your average sixteen-year-old – same wants, same fears, same hang-ups. Dull, dull, dull. But then there’s the Bobby Seed who’s a world away from average. The Bobby Seed who has to wipe his mum’s backside, sponge her clean three times a week, try to soothe her pain. The Bobby Seed whose job it is to provide for his younger brother, Danny, to rub his back when he’s stressed and can only groan and rock instead of speak. That’s Bobby Seed. Same, same, same, yet different, different, different …
If there’s one thing I love reading once in a while, it’s an emotional book. When I came across The Weight of a Thousand Feathers, I knew I had found one that would hit me in the core. How right I was!
Let’s start with the – kind of – least important thing: the writing. The Weight of a Thousand Feathers consists mostly of short chapters, which made reading easy and difficult at the same time. That might sound like a bad thing, but it’s not! Let me explain.
The writing makes reading easier because you keep going for the good old “one more chapter” we bookworms are so good at. Since they’re only a couple of pages, you feel like you’re flying through the book.
But at the same time, the writing makes it harder to read because of how it’s written: Very blunt, straightforward, to-the-point, whatever you want to call it. Sentences are pretty short overall, but because of that combination with the subjects of this novel, they pack a huge punch.
Apart from the “general” writing, there are also some poems thrown in. A small feature I loved since that adds more to our main character’s – Bobby’s – being and depth.
Talking about the main character.. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge his identifying as not heterosexual. He states not to fancy girls! So: queer, writes poetry, cares for his mom and his little brother, tries finding his own way apart from his role as carer. Summing it all up like that, you just know Bobby has a lot to handle. It makes for an interesting story, and that’s without the actual plot of the book.
And it isn’t an easy plot. Not to read, to digest, to get through. Even more so since becoming a mom because.. I just can’t imagine Jamie having to care for me the way Bobby has for his mom? It breaks my heart just thinking about it and I thought about it a lot while reading. It was a very hard book for me to get through, that’s for sure. Especially since it’s the subject of the book. There’s no escaping it at all. You’re constantly reminded, constantly faced with what could happen one day. Let’s just hope we never get to live through the things Bobby, Dan and his mom have to go through.
A little bit more about the other characters, huh? Apart from Bobby, there’s Danny – his baby brother. I don’t really have much to say about him. He’s a cool kid who loves gaming and is smarter than he’s giving credit for throughout most of the book. But that adds to the authencity since.. well.. don’t we all underestimate our younger siblings? I know I did for a while, haha!
But then there are two other characters.. Lou and Bel disappointed me, to be honest. Bel is supposed to be Bobby’s best female friend but their friendship felt so off to me throughout most of the book. It constantly felt like they were avoiding certain things, subjects due to them being “serious” or “uncomfortable” to talk about while.. You should totally be able to talk about things like that when you’re best friends, right? It felt weird. Even more so with Bobby’s role as carer. You’d think he’d have a decent outlet with his best friend to talk about things but it wasn’t really the case.
Then there’s Lou. I wanted more out of his character. He has his moments, but.. I felt like his character took a turn for the worst at some point and he never redeemed himself. It felt so, so weird and off and.. I don’t even know. I wanted more out of it. It’s hard to explain without spoiling.
The Weight of a Thousand Feathers is a beautiful book about something not talked about nearly enough. It’s hard to read, hard to digest and I can see how people will have issues with it for multiple reasons, but I personally didn’t. I hope that, if you decide to pick it up, you won’t either! I’m not a carer, and I hope I never will be in the way Bobby is, but it was definitely more than worth reading and crying over.
What’s one of the hardest subjects you’ve ever read about in a book?
Would you read another book on the subject or are you going “nope” from now on?