Erryn reviews ‘The Weight of it All’ by N.R. Walker. This book was released by the author on September 12, 2016 and is about 244 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Joel Leslie, released by Tantor Audio on October 3, 2017 and is 7 hrs and 44 mins long.
Why I read this book: I was captured by the story and had to make sure Henry got his happy ending.
After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.
He joins a gym.
Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.
As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamors Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.
Reed just has to convince Henry that life isn’t about reaching your ideal bodyweight. It’s about finding your perfect counterweight.
Contains mature themes.
As far as I’m concerned, 2017 was the year of N.R. Walker.
‘Red Dirt Heart 3’ was released on audio, ‘Switched’ came out in both e-book and audio, and ‘On Davis Row’ was recently released in e-book.
Oh, and, of course, there’s ‘The Weight of It All’. Now, I listen to around 100 or more audiobooks in a year and this one was at the very top of my list for 2017.
So when ‘A Very Henry Christmas: The Weight of It All 1.5’ was suddenly released, I seized the opportunity to listen to the beginning of the Henry and Reed story again before reading about their Christmas antics.
I’m so glad I did.
‘The Weight of It All’ is entirely from Henry’s point-of-view and that worked. Usually I like to get the perspective of the other hero, but as Reed’s co-worker Emily says, Reed is incapable of lying. What you see is what you get. And how much better would the world be if we were all like Reed? Honest, self-effacing, and caring of others?
That Henry is slow to recognize Reed’s interest in him is understandable because, for most of the rest of the world, he has to look deeper. He is jaded because he was unceremoniously dumped by the man he’d been living with for eight years. And although the dumping was downright cruel, something positive happened – Henry took a good look at his life and decided he didn’t like what he saw in the mirror – and maybe what was on the inside as well.
Enter Reed, the personal trainer. Henry can appreciate Reed’s gorgeous body, but his self-esteem issues keep him from seeing what is in front of him.
Fortunately, there is an amazing cast of secondary characters who rally around Henry to show him that he’s more than just the fat funny guy.
How many of us have done an inventory and discovered things about ourselves that we didn’t like? Physical appearance is the predominant one, of course, in our body-obsessed culture, but there are other things we might not like when we do the hard work of self-examination.
I loved the slow burn in this book. The men become genuine friends first – bonding over food, books, and Reed’s complete lack of appreciation of Barry Gibb. Most importantly, they discover there is more than meets the eye.
It has a beautiful happy ending and I loved how seamlessly their lives fit – friends, family, and love.
Now I have to turn to Joel Leslie’s performance. He narrated all of N.R.’s books this year and I am so glad! I’m definitely not picky about accents, so I assumed his Australian accent is great. What I do know is that his performance of Henry is brilliant.
Henry’s interior monologues, lack of filter of what comes out of his mind, and general antics, make him a loveable if not slightly quirky character. Over and over, Joel nails the performance. Now, I listen to books on the subway, so I try to suppress laughter (and tears), but sometimes I just let go and laugh out loud. Joel’s portrayal of Henry the day after his first exercise session…well, I guffawed all the way home. And I’ll always remember the T-Rex image.
Reed and Henry are surrounded by people who love them. Emily, Reed’s co-worker is protective while Henry’s best friend Anika and his personal assistant Melinda were there to support him after he was dumped. I love that the women are strong and refuse to let either Reed or Henry accept any BS.
I cannot say enough good things about this book. It is a must for someone who has self-esteem issues or loves someone with same. Of course I can’t promise everyone will get Henry and Reed’s happy ending, but there’s hope to having supportive friends.
Oh, and I’ll never look at eggplant the same way again.
10/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…