Author: Liz Moore
Review: How can two seemingly opposite people be so alike? That is the question in Heft. Two different people ultimately finding salvation in each other.
Arthur Opp is a extremely obese former college professor who never leaves his house or has any relationships besides what is to be found on-line. Kel Keller is a vibrant athletic teenager going to one of the most affluent schools around. Yet through this wonderful book Heft Liz Moore manages to weave these two lives together to show how they are the same guy. Both are abandoned by their fathers at a young age, both are subjected to dysfunctional mothers, and ultimately both do not feel they belong in the lives they have.
Arthur’s answer is to shut himself away from the world and slowly eat himself to death. He manages to keep some relationships working through a correspondence of lies, especially with the one person who thought him a hero. His former student, almost girlfriend, the mother of young Kel.
Kel finds himself adrift in the world he enjoys, because he is a poor boy with an ill mother who is only allowed into the society he currently enjoys, the very rich, because of his mother’s former job and his athletic abilities. But much like Arthur he has reality rushing forth to meet him, he has to face how alone he really is. Not fitting into the life he has.
Luckily Kel’s mother Charlene saw the writing on the wall and gives her son one last push out of his current path in life. Through manipulation and some lies she shoves him right towards Arthur. The beauty of this book is how through small and simple things greatness can be achieved. The prospect of this meeting allows Arthur to make small changes in his life, slowly opening him up to what could be; teaching him the meaning of family and friends. For Kel it spurs him to dig into the questions that were always left unasked. Who is his father, who is his family? Plus he faces his biggest fear that he is alone and that nobody could love him. He also learns what a friend is, and yes, that it is possible for him to have them.
Heft is a beautiful story of healing, of two people able to save each other through compassion. The whole book builds up to the meeting between our two heroes, but by then they are both on a new path. The book left e wanting more, to see Arthur and Kel working together for redemption.
Publisher: Published January 23rd 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company
Quick Review: 4 ½ stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: Sent by the publisher.
Synopsis: Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur s. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene s unexpected phone call to Arthur a plea for help that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives. Like Elizabeth McCracken s The Giant s House, Heft is a novel about love and family found in the most unexpected places.
Author Biography: Liz Moore is a writer, musician, and teacher.
She wrote most of her first novel, THE WORDS OF EVERY SONG (Broadway Books, 2007), while in college. The book, which centers on a fictional record company in present-day New York City, draws partly on Liz's own experiences as a musician.
After the publication of her debut novel, Liz released an album, BACKYARDS, and obtained her MFA in Fiction from Hunter College. In 2009, Liz was awarded the University of Pennsylvania's ArtsEdge residency and moved from New York to Philadelphia. She has taught Creative Writing at Hunter College and the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Writing at Holy Family University in Philadelphia.
Her second novel is HEFT (W.W. Norton, January 2012).
FYI: Book Trailer