Erryn reviews ‘Weight of the World’ by Riley Hart and Devon McCormack. The ebook was published August 28, 2016.The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Michael Pauley, released by Treycore Films LLC on November 15th, 2017 and is 8 hrs and 2 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
***Check out the giveaway at the bottom of this review for a chance to win a $5 gift card***
Why I read this book: Because I needed a high-angst listen.
Zack lost his job, his apartment, and his hope, which is why he ends up on the roof of a high rise, certain that one final step will solve his problems. But a mysterious stranger named Rob happens to be on the roof that night too. He talks Zack down, convincing him there’s still hope left in the world. Zack thinks maybe he’s right, which is why he’s shocked when he turns on the news the next morning to find out Rob jumped himself. Disturbed and confused, he searches for answers, starting with Rob’s brother Tommy Rayburn.
It’s been Tommy’s job to take care of his brother since they were kids, taking the blows from their father so Rob wouldn’t have to. Tommy thought he could protect him, even if it meant carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Considering Rob threw himself off a building, he obviously couldn’t.
Then he meets Zack, a friend of Rob’s who’s suspiciously evasive about how they knew each other. But they’re both grieving and determined to find out why Rob jumped. Answers don’t come easily, and soon they’re soothing each other with sweat-slicked, passionate encounters. Hot as things get in the bedroom, it doesn’t take them long to realize there’s more between them than mind-blowing sex and their pain. But the heaviness is still there, threatening to pull them under, and if they can’t open up with each other to lighten the load, the weight just might be enough to crush them both.
This is the first collaboration between Riley Hart & Devon McCormack and it has led to a wonderfully productive relationship. But this, their first foray into partnership, speaks to their strengths as writers because even through the heavy emotional subjects of depression and suicide, there were moments where I was laughing out loud, moments where I was gripped with tears, and times where the sex was, well, hot. The fact it was often a coping mechanism for the psychological pain made it all the more poignant.
There are three characters in this book. Zack who has hit rock bottom – no job, no money, and living out of his car, Tommy – mired in grief, and soldiering on, but hurting, and Rob – Tommy’s younger brother who has committed suicide. For their entire lives, Tommy was responsible for Rob (in fact and in his heart). Now Tommy is searching for answers to the most painful question – why did Rob jump off a building?
Zack was on that roof with Rob and is also mired in grief and guilt because he would never have left Rob alone had he known the young man was going to jump. Zack shows up at Tommy’s door, hoping Rob’s older brother has answers and when Tommy discovers Zack saw Rob that horrible night, he thinks Zack might be able to explain what happened and why. That’s the question – why did Rob jump?
But short of being inside Rob’s head, is it really possible to know why?
For those of us who have lost someone to suicide, even a note doesn’t really tell the whole story. Guilt is common because you always ask if there was something you could have done to change the outcome. And if you’ve ever suffered with profound clinical depression, you know how much you just want the pain to end. Suicide looks like a way to end the suffering and in that altered mental state, you convince yourself that the people around you will be better off without you.
These are heavy topics, but they are offset by moments of levity and of affection.
Zack knows that if Tommy discovers he was on the roof with Rob that night, everything in their relationship will change. All the good things that are happening between them will come to an abrupt end.
Tommy, for his part, can see Zack has fallen on hard times. In the end, he couldn’t help Rob, but maybe redemption is possible and the self-recriminations will come to an end if he helps Zack.
Watching two sensitive men suffer is heart-wrenching, but I promise you the pain is worth it because of the reward at the end. Because sometimes love can come out of the darkness. Because sometimes having someone believe in your is enough to make you want to seek out a better life. And sometimes you find love in the least expected places.
My heart ached but was made whole again as I listened to the book. Narrator Michael Pauley was fabulous. Michael is a favourite of Riley and Devon, and now he’s one of my favs as well. He told the story with the right emotions, unobtrusive yet perfectly relaying the angst, and in the end, the love.
There are no simple answers in this book – as there are so rarely in life – but sometimes the journey is enough.
10/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Comment on this post for the chance to win one $5 gift card
You must be 18 years or older to participate in this giveaway. Void where prohibited. Etc.
This giveaway ends on December 17, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST. GOOD LUCK!
Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic. A lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together. If she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her reading.
Riley lives in California with her awesome family, who she is thankful for everyday.
Devon McCormack spends most of his time hiding in his lair, adventuring in paranormal worlds with his island of misfit characters. A good ole Southern boy, McCormack grew up in the Georgian suburbs with his two younger brothers and an older sister. At a very young age, he spun tales the old fashioned way, lying to anyone and everyone he encountered. He claimed he was an orphan. He claimed to be a king from another planet. He claimed to have supernatural powers. He has since harnessed this penchant for tall tales by crafting whole worlds where he can live out whatever fantasy he chooses.
A gay man himself, McCormack focuses on gay male characters, adding to the immense body of literature that chooses to represent and advocate gay men’s presence in media. His body of work ranges from erotica to young adult, so readers should check the synopses of his books before purchasing so that they know what they’re getting into.