Heft by Liz Moore
W.W. Norton Company (January 2012)
352 pages, 4 stars
ABOUT THE BOOK: 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 sporting 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. —Goodreads.com
Heft had just enough mystery to keep you turning pages and just enough reconciling in the end to keep it from being sappy. This book was very well balanced with the stories of Arthur and of Kel—their stories connect but only slightly. Moore does a wonderful job of crafting to distinct characters living very different lives. Arthur is a shut-in who is terrified to let anyone close to him, but happens to open his heart to a young, pregnant woman who cleans his house. Kel is trying to get by as a poor kid in a rich neighborhood, and on top of that his mother has a lot of health issues. For both of these men, life is spinning out of their careful control when we meet them. Throughout Heft, Arthur and Kel have to deal with situations that mold them into entirely new (and better) people.
This is an inspiring novel without being overly sentimental. I had a serious hangover after reading this book. I tried to read three different novels after and put them all down. For me, that’s the mark of a great read!
FASHION FRIDAY: My dear angsty jock, pull this Mets beanie over your greasy hair. You haven’t washed it since your mental breakdown, but you are still convinced that you’ll be playing for the Mets after high school. You might want to clean up before you meet the coach though—Lindsay’s soap may be girly, but you’ll take what you can get. This handmade towel will scrub off the grime that built up while your mom was in the hospital. Its soft and thick and smacks of wealth like all of Pells.
This sweater has bright red professor patches that remind you of your days in the classroom. The days where you met the woman who you’ve been pen pals with for twenty years. These pants are clean cut and slimming—you wore them when you were only slightly chubby. You no longer fit in this sweater or pants, but with Yolanda’s help maybe one day you will.
These designer leather Oxfords were a hand-me-down from your wealthy father, who left your mom for his other family in England. Finally, this bag (also your father’s) used to hold students’ papers, but now it just holds letters from one woman. They’re frequency has become erratic and ultimately stops as the years wear on. But your thoughts of her can’t stop. Won’t stop.