Book Reviews: The World More Full of Weeping

Monday, January 24, 2011

World More Full of Weeping
by Robert J. Wiersema

This creepy little book is part horror story and part fairy tale. A divorced dad, Jeff, lives with his 11-year-old son Brian in rural British Columbia. Their home sits next to a forest which Brian spends all of his free time exploring. One day Brian goes missing and from that point forward we see the story from both Jeff and Brian’s points of view.

I knew almost nothing about this book when I picked it up. The cover is gorgeous and the title comes from William Butler Yeats' poem "The Stolen Child." In high school my best friend gave me a picture she had drawn of a fairy (below). On the drawing she had written these lines from Yeats’ poem,

“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.”

Because of that, the title of the book immediately caught my attention and I knew I had to read it. I won’t give a single thing away about the plot, because what I enjoyed the most about it was not knowing where the story would end. I will say that Wiersema maintains a tense suspense throughout the story. It’s easy to picture yourself in the shoes of both the curious young boy and the terrified father. This is a quick read, but definitely worth it.

“You never really get a look at your own life, until you’re showing it to someone else.”

In addition to the novella, the book also contains an essay about fictionalizing real places when you write. It was a really interesting to read about the thin, but essential, line between an author’s hometown and the nonexistent setting in his novel. Even though the places may be indistinguishable, Wiersema stresses the importance of always recognizing the difference between them. The author needs the freedom to imagine whatever character or events they want and if they see the place as real they won’t allow themselves to do that. Fascinating, no?

Second image drawn by my friend.


Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

I wonder it it’s more fun to imagine magical things happening behind the scenes in your city or coming up with something completely new. I would instinctively say the first option… but maybe not!

Sandy Nawrot said...

First of all, I'm kind of blown away by how beautiful that drawing is...I hope that friend used that talent in her adult life! I love how some books just call out to us, like this one did to you.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Alexandra - I would think the first option too. I love to think about what inspires writers.

Sandy - I know, she's so talented! Sometimes it seems like you're destined to read certain books. I love that.

Anonymous said...

Miss Katie drew that?! I had no idea she was such a great artist! :) I really want to read this book now... I'm currently reading Running with Scissors, and have a huge list of other books to tackle. One book I've heard a huge buzz about prior to its release is Swamplandia! I think I will purchase it for my Spring Break trip to Southern FL ;) I have no doubt you'll get your hands on a copy and read it before I get a chance to, so we'll have to discuss. love you.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Care - Yup, she has many hidden talents. You should see her organize a closet! I didn't love Running with Scissors, I'll be interested to hear what you think. I've heard of Swamplandia, but haven't read it yet. You'll have to tell me if it's good!

Anonymous said...

yes, i am not loving running with scissors either, in fact frequently feel the need to gag while reading it. but, i hate not finishing something i started so i usually will power through books i dislike. i know you do the same thing :)