Friday, June 23, 2017

The Weight of Him by Ethel Rohan (our November RBC author)

Ethel Rohan was born and raised in Ireland.  And this book takes place in rural Ireland.  But I'm happy to say that Ethel now lives in the Bay Area and has agreed to be our RBC author in November.  I'm looking forward to having her there just to hear her speak!  Here's the blurb for The Weight of Him:

At four hundred pounds, Billy Brennan could always count on food.  From his earliest memories he loved food's colors, textures, and tastes.  The way flavors went off in his mouth. Food made everything better.  Until the day Billy's beloved son Michael ended his life.  Nothing could comfort him then.
Determined to honor Michael's memory, Billy undertakes a public weight-loss campaign to raise money for charity - his first step in an ambitious plan to bring himself, his family, and everyone in despair through their pain.  However, Billy's dramatic crusade appalls those close to him who simply want to try to go on, quietly, privately.
Despite Billy's detractors and his demons, he is determined to persist and to reignite hearts, his own most of all.  but it's only if he can confront the truth of the brokenness within and around him that he and others will be able to realize the recovery they need.

Sound good?  It is.  I liked it a lot.  Let me point out a couple of things about The Weight of Him that stood out for me:

1.  I'm a very visual reader.  But Ethel's writing is particularly visual. That's very cool.
2.  This reminds me of A Man Called Ove.  I liked Weight from the beginning.  But it gets better and better as it goes along.
3.  I had lots o' tears.  But better (worse?) than that, I had some moments of flooding.  We're talking blubbering here.
4.  Racheal Herron has 3 books in a genre called mis (short for misery) lit.  She explained it as a story in which something really bad happens at the beginning of the book.  That's certainly the case here.  Does that place this book in the mis lit category?  Seems like it...but what do I know?

I mentioned how visual Ethel's writing is.  Here are a few examples:

1.  "A cold feeling came over Billy's lungs, as if someone had cut away the front panel of his chest."
2.  Referring to a drink, she says "Pink bubbles popped like ungranted wishes."
3.  Talking with his younger son about dying, Billy says "We get reminders about dying, so we don't forget to make the most of living."

I'm definitely recommending The Weight of Him.  And if you happen to be anywhere near Campbell, CA on Wednesday night, November 15, around 7:00, come by and say hello to Ethel.


  1. One of my favorites of 2017. I agree with everything you said, Lloyd. Wish I lived close enough to come meet the author!

    1. Also, I haven't heard of mis before today but I recognize I get it.

    2. *sigh* wish I could edit (or maybe I should edit before I click publish).

    3. I just looked it up on Wikipedia for the 1st time. Interesting definition, but close to what we were talking about.