At the age of 16, Zack was no longer safe at home and wound up living on the streets. Ten years later, everything is again falling apart as he has lost his job and his apartment. With no hope left, Zack climbs to the roof of a tall building knowing that his problems will all be over if he just steps off. Zack isn’t counting on Rob to be on the roof as well and, after a heartfelt conversation and a shared moment, Rob gives Zack back a little bit of hope. The next morning, Zack is then shocked to learn that Rob jumped off of the same roof. In need of some type of closure, Zack seeks answers from Rob’s brother, Tommy.
Being ten years older than Rob, Tommy has always taken care of his younger brother. With an alcoholic father and a mother that left them, they had no one but each other. Tommy made it his mission in life to protect Rob and his world falls apart when he learns of Rob’s death.
When Zack seeks out Tommy, Tommy is at first suspicious and then curious why Zack won’t reveal exactly how he knew Rob. But grieving alone is more than Tommy can handle and the men turn to each in their shared grief. When answers aren’t easy to find, the men come to realize they share more than just heated physical encounters. The men are better together than they are apart, but the truth is still out there wedged between them and waiting to crush them both.
Weight of the World takes on the heavy subject matter of suicide from a few different angles. With alternating POVs, we get the bulk of the story as seen through Zack and Tommy. There were also a few well placed chapters where we get POV through Rob from the night he jumped.
We come into the story at the point that I considered to be the middle. Zack has come down from the roof, Robby is gone, and Tommy is seeking answers. It then took me some time to find a footing with this story. The focal point of the book is the men seeking the answer to why Rob jumped. Tommy is devastated at the loss of his brother and can’t get past the crushing guilt that he wasn’t able to save the most important person to him. He also can’t get past the fact that he didn’t even know that Rob was struggling.
Zack has his own guilt. He was at an incredibly low point that night and now he’s struggling with the fact that Rob gave him hope and a reason to go on and he never caught on that Rob was on the roof for the same reason. I did have a harder time buying into the bonding moment the men had on the roof just moments before Rob would ultimately jump. Zack and Tommy then bond quickly over their shared grief and their intimate scenes together illustrate them just wanting to forget the pain for just a moment. While the men together offer intense, heated encounters, a lot of the wording in each scene was similar, which gave them a repetitive feel.
Even with the heavy subject matter, this book was incredibly slow for me. Tommy wants answers from anyone who may have encountered Rob, yet he continually gives Zack a pass when Zack won’t tell Tommy how he knew Rob. The truth behind Zack telling Tommy how he knew Rob goes on for so much of the book it became repetitive and then overly drawn out. Also, for the subject matter that was presented, it just didn’t pack that emotional punch that I was expecting. The alternate POV always adds to a more in depth story, but Zach, Tommy, and even Rob, sounded way too similar and the points of view all blended into each other.
The theme behind the title of the book was used often and in many different ways throughout the book and I didn’t need that many reminders that Tommy was carrying the weight of the world as I really got it early on. Ultimately, there was just something missing here that didn’t keep me fully engaged. I had high expectations based on the premise of the book, but the execution wasn’t a match for me overall. The guys are a perfect complement to each other and are shown to work better together than apart. While there were a few tender moments weaved in, the format and lack of intense emotion didn’t work as well for me. Still, if this premise intrigues you, then certainly give it a try.