I loved the honesty and lack of pretense. The characters were alive, their problems real. Very well done.
The only other book I could think to compare Heft to is Wuthering Heights... Disfunctional characters trying to survive.
The narrators did an excellent job. They were very good with the New York accents of Charlene and the Spanish-New York of Yolanda. They sounded like gum snapping, diner waitresses and I was fascinated that Arthur gave them the time of day. The contrast between them seemed too wide a gap to bridge.
I loved the book and was deeply engrossed in the drama. The ending was a bit confounding, but the story never let's you go. It haunts your thoughts even after you put it down.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
For me, the term “heft” implies recognizing weight because of trying to lift something, whereas “weight” carries the connotation of pressing down. For a major portion of this story, I just felt the weight – of depression, of inertia, of secrets and lies, and of time wasted letting opportunities pass by, especially waiting for rescue to come from outside rather than from within. It would be easy to allow the weighty stories of Arthur and Kel to become depressing, and indeed I became frustrated with both of them for their self-destructive behaviors, particularly when they told trivial and unnecessary untruths that kept them painted into their corners, isolated from those trying to make contact. I assumed from the story summary that Arthur’s and Kel’s stories would converge at some point, but it was a very long journey before the corner was turned, and some reviewers were apparently unhappy with the ending. I’m ok with it though, because the resolution was where I finally sensed the lift of “Heft”. It was worth working through the hard times to get there, for the characters and for me.
A word about the narration: I felt that the readers might have been instructed to speak way too slowly. Arthur’s voice begins the story, and fairly quickly I felt that the very slow pace of the reading was lulling me into the feeling of sinking to the bottom of the ocean. So I did something I’ve never done before – I bumped up the speed of my player. I intended to only speed up for Arthur, but when Kel started, he also spoke very slowly, so I speeded him up too. It worked. While clearly fast paced, both readers remained expressive without chipmunk voices. Perhaps a slow reading was intended to convey the depression of their lives, but the author’s words did that sufficiently without artifice. Had to downgrade the performance because of this, which is too bad, because Arthur’s voice in particular was very good and would have been excellent if read at a normal pace.
Yes because you find yourself doing a "what if" senario in your head.
Five People You Meet In Heaven since it to demonstrates how the simplest things you do can profoundly influence others.
They were believeable and draw the reader into the story.
Often made me sad that otherwise productive, colorful characters can go so far astray.
I have enjoyed my Audible membership tremendously.
I enjoyed this story until the end and I will get to that later. For the most part, I found the characters and their surroundings believable as well as the strife individuals will put themselves through due to their inability or lack of willingness to take action for themselves. There were some uplifting moments but overall I felt sad for most of the characters.Overall, I was disappointed with the ending. I felt the author left us hanging without a resolution - good or bad. Then again, maybe that is what she wanted to portray. In either case, I felt empty and left hanging with the question of 'So what's next'?
Thorny issues faced in daily life by characters not often given a voice. Sadness and loneliness, love and family all play roles. A book that will definitely get a second listen. Narrators are superb.
This book was so much better than I expected. The narrator was perfect. He made the characters come to life for me & made me care what happened to each one.
The characters were really fleshed out and real, but so melancholy. So many missed opportunities for each of them. They could have changed each other's lives but didn't have the courage.
I was interested enough in what was going to happen next that I was drawn back to listen when I had other things to do. But I wished someone got their happiness in the end.
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
Why should you listen to a book about an agoraphobic, morbidly obese former professor, his former student, and her son? Because Liz Moore excels at storytelling in Heft and she can make you care about all of these characters in a way that doesn't often happen in fiction, especially when the characters have all made some questionable choices. In Heft, Liz Moore writes of several lonely, misfit characters in an extraordinary way. She is able to tell the stories of Arthur Opp, a morbidly obese, agoraphobic, former professor, his former student Charlene Turner, and her son Kel Keller in simple, straightforward, yet beautiful writing.
Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds, sits on his couch and watches his home fill up with the detritus of his life. After September 11, he realized that he had no one to care about (or to care about him), so he isolates himself in his house and with his weight. He never leaves his house, orders everything he needs, but is clearly cognizant of his situation. His only contact has been letters from a former student, Charlene Turner. He hasn't seen her in twenty years, but one day receives a letter asking Arthur to provide some much-needed guidance to her son, Kel Keller. This letter provides the impetus for Arthur to hire a cleaning lady, Yolanda, who is a very interesting character in her own right. Keith Szarabajka does an amazing narration for Arthur. This is definitely a case where the audio makes the book an even better reading experience than print.
Every one of these characters is lonely in their own way, and their interactions and intersections may (or may not) change that, but Moore doesn't write their stories in predictable ways. She reveals the truth behind the facades that Arthur and Kel have chosen; it would be so easy to write all of these characters as caricatures, but Moore never does that.
"I considered the fact that men who come to excavate my house upon receiving complaints from the neighbors will find a fat old corpse who has no relations and nothing but a pile of papers to tell them this was a human being and this was a man with a story to tell."
Heft is a masterfully told story.
I am a miracle worker. Doing what I can to choose love over fear.
Like "Me before you" this book is about ilness and lonelyness. In "Me before you" there is one storyline which makes you either love or hate it. "Heft" !contains one storyline about a 17-year old guy taking care of his mom suffering from Lupus. His escape is baseball. The other story is about the big guy Arthur too big to wish to get out of his house: Then their stories come together. The narration is as great as "The help" the two narrators does an beyond amazing job. The narrators help you navigate between the two stories.
I would either create another chapter or a second book.
Yolanda meets Arthur
"You before me" came in the middel of this, would have done it in one setting otherwise.
If you like "The fault in our stars"
" The help"
" Me before you" you will love this.
Life's good when I am listening to a great book.
What I loved best about Heft was that I felt like I was living the main character's life. The author was able to write the book in a manner that allowed me to feel that I was on the inside of his mind, understanding his motives and choices. He was such an interesting, brilliant, gentle man while at the same time he was trapped within himself and within his home.
I suppose that Heft reminded me of Anne Tyler novels, like "Accidental Tourist" perhaps. Unbelievable character development. The reader gets to live the life of another.
The reading of Heft was brilliant. The story telling with two different voices allowed me to more fully live the lives of the two main characters whose ages were vastly separated.
This book did not make me laugh or cry but did make me feel deeply the importance of development of friendships and the value of creating one's own family of friends as opposed to a birth family. This book allowed me to observe the protagonist's great ability to find love and acceptance of himself and of others.