The Weight of All Things

Last week while we were on vacation I was finally able to finish a book that I started months ago. I think I’ve set a record for longest time to finish a not-so-long book, but I’m so glad that I did.

The book is called The Weight of All Things, and it is Sandra Benitez’s follow up to her epic novel, Bitter Grounds. And just like her first novel, it pulls you right in to the world of El Salvador…this time during the Salvadoran Civil War. The book is a novel, but it includes very real depictions of things that happened during the conflict.

I saw the war through the eyes of a scared young boy as he was forced to aid guerrillas on his family’s ranch, and then later as he was forced to work in the barracks of the government’s military. The book captured the terrible middle where thousands of Salvadorans lived and died during the war. The book sums it up so well in one of the final chapters:

From the left came the revolutionaries, the guerrillas…From the right came the army, the Guardia, and the paramilitary forces of Orden…Caught in the perilous between were the people. 

My heart was broken again for the Salvadoran people, and made me long more than ever for healing in this beautiful land.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who works in El Salvador, or who wants to understand more about what the country has walked through. The story is told through the eyes of a child…the age that many of my friends were during the war, and it helped me to understand why the pain runs so deep and why the scars are still there.


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