Proceed With Caution:
The author includes the following content warnings: graphic violence, death, racism, OCD, and anxiety triggers.
The Weight of Our Sky is narrated by sixteen-year-old Melati, a Malay girl living in Malaysia with her mother in 1969. What was suppose to be a normal afternoon at the cinema with her best friend quickly turned deadly as the race riots began. Mel has to find her way home, but she also has to keep her OCD at bay in order to focus on surviving.
I was immediately pulled in by Mel's narrative. I haven't read many books featuring characters with OCD, so I was eager to pick this one up. Especially since Mel describes her compulsions as a djinn in her head. Neighbor's and family believe she's cursed rather than struggling with a mental disorder. I identified with her so hard, since I also struggling some of her same obsessions and compulsions. Particularly obsessing over a loved ones possible death if we don't do things right.
I will admit that I didn't know anything about the racial tension and wars that had went on in Malaysia. The Weight of Our Sky was my introduction to these devastating events and I can't even imagine having to live through something like this. Mel is so young and having to run through burning streets to find shelter with a neighbor. Then she starts volunteering with the Red Cross as she tries to make her way back home to find her mother. All of this after watching her best friend get murdered for being the wrong race. It's all sickening.
The Weight of Our Sky is a heavy read. I'm not sure how else to describe it. The political situation Mel is living through is horrific. She's struggling really hard with OCD on top of it all. There is a...well, I can't say "happy ending" but Mel is in a better place at the end, so it's not all tragedy. I was a little disappointed with how her OCD was handled at the end, like it just magically disappeared and she can now has control over the Djinn. That's not how it works. Overall, it was a great read though.