Recently, we received our copy of HEATHER, THE TOTALITY by Matthew Weiner, with our regular library book delivery. Upon first inspection, it looked a lot like a YA book–the cover featuring a young girl inside the font. But no—it was adult fiction. Secondly, it was a teeny, tiny book. When our cataloger Caroline opened it up, she realized this very skinny book was a large print copy, which left us wondering just exactly how thin this book would look in regular print. Apparently, it looks much more like a novella than a full-fledged novel, at only 130 pages.
Such a curious novel meant I had to find out more. Weiner is a former TV writer, producer, and creator, most famous for Mad Men. This is his debut novel, and Goodreads gives the description as this:
The Breakstone family arrange themselves around their daughter Heather, and the world seems to follow: beautiful, compassionate, entrancing, she is the greatest blessing in their lives of Manhattan luxury. But as Heather grows-and her empathy sharpens to a point, and her radiance attracts more and more dark interest-their perfect existence starts to fracture. Meanwhile a very different life, one raised in poverty and in violence, is beginning its own malign orbit around Heather.
Matthew Weiner-the creator of Mad Men-has crafted an extraordinary first novel of incredible pull and menace. Heather, The Totality demonstrates perfectly his forensic eye for the human qualities that hold modern society together, and pull it apart.
There is a lot of controversy about this novel, with many complaining about Weiner’s use of weird fomatting and style, very akin to a script, without a lot of character development. In a novel this short, I’m not sure why anyone would be expecting a lot of character development—it would seem the perfect size for something very plot-driven. I’m sure it will circulate quite a bit at our library, as people often love a short, easy read, but it will be interesting to see if others complain of the same things.
If you’ve read the book, what are your thoughts? Did Weiner leave his newest audience wanting more, or did he hit on a style that might work for the “now” generation? Let us know in the comments below!