I LOVE to listen to audiobooks - the Audible ap is by far the best thing that's ever happend to my iPhone.
I selected is book using the feature that shows what other people that bought a certain book were also buying. I'm glad I did!
The thing that struck me about this book - is the attention to descriptive detail! Arthur is homebound, so his imagination fuels him... the way Liz Moore describes everything - the smells, the appearance of things... She even gives you and inside look at Arthur and his inner conversations. Like, when he imagines how a friendship will be, or who a person is based on their photo. He is a lonely man - but his own imagination is a true companion.
Kel is a great teen character - typical teen qualities, but the vulnerability of a child who has a messed up family.
You won't be disappointed with this selection. The narration is fabulous, the story is engaging!
The two perspectives and the way they interact.
When a shut-in allows another person in his house for the first time in years.
Kell's girlfriend gets angry at him, for a reason that makes sense to her and which is barely on his radar.
I would take the whole damn cast, even Trevor, because I feel connected to them. I know their flaws and I like them anyway.
A wonderfully told story I didn't want to end. Perfect charcter development, and story telling ability from this author. I will definitely be watching for any future books from Liz Moore. A book I will be talking and thinking about for some time.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
Clearly I am not the right audience for this book. The inner workings of the two main characters were not that interesting to begin with and certainly not captivating enough for hours of listening. For a story with such a simple plot, there was WAY too much detail. The narration was just fine. It's the book that's the problem. It should have been a short story.
I usually read books to escape and thus am naturally drawn to more SciFi/Fantasy work that takes me far away from everyday reality and into fictional universes. I bought this book on sale on a whim and because I was desperate for anything to download before my flight took off. I am so glad I did.
The best single word to describe this book is poignant. The second would be "real". You can read other reviews to know more about the story but I was moved to write a review because the characters were so atypical but breathtakingly believable (and the narrators were 100% spot on). It was not escapist but I was completely drawn into the main characters's realities. I also think it has altered my perspective a bit and maybe even taught me some insights into myself. I will most likely go back to my own genres habits but this was well worth taking a detour and trying something new and, yes, out of my comfort zone.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
Heft gets off to a promising start. Arthur Opp, an obese shut-in, begins to explain to us how he got so lonely that his only remaining relationship is with binge eating. That was me about 30 years ago, watching my waist line grow proportionally to my heartbreak after the bad end to an important relationship. So I was very interested in seeing how author Liz Moore would develop Arthur's character relative to my own experience.
Unfortunately, Arthur's narration is soon supplanted by that of a Westchester County high school boy, and Heft turns into a YA novel about dealing with an alcoholic mother, snobby schoolmates, and being an accomplished and popular multi-sport athlete. (Sound of loud record scratch!) Wait -- "dealing" with being a popular high school athlete? Yes. OK, Kel's single mother is a major problem, but everyone else around him loves him and supports him through that struggle, even when he acts out. What's the story here?
The narrative eventually shifts back to Arthur as he takes baby steps to address his situation, thanks in large part to the arrival of a perky pregnant teenage housekeeper, as well as a letter from his past. But his segments grow shorter as Kel's drone on and on. This is major missed opportunity number one, abandoning Arthur. Number two, there is the opportunity for a significant study of fatherhood that is never explored to the same depth as, say, what Arthur is eating or why Kel wants to pursue baseball instead of college.
Which leads to major missed opportunity number three. Moore does give us a couple of detailed listings of Arthur's binge meals, but she never really develops a compelling metaphor. Sure, he eats because he's lonely, but this is literature, please take it a little past the obvious. Or, being a former English teacher who has an enduring crush on one of his students, maybe expand on the brief mentions of literary works that the student got so wrong and how that affected Arthur's affection for her.
Which brings me to this: Writing reviews for Audible, I feel bad about having to recommend not listening to a book. I know, I have to just be honest, but still... So I will close this review by heartily recommending The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, which is also about a lonely man who has given up on life and love only to find it through an unlikely turn of events -- events similar to those in Heft. More than anything else, Zevin sticks with her protagonist, as Moore should have done with Arthur Opp, and makes the most of her central metaphor, the love of books.
I have to add a note about the narration. Both narrators (one doing Arthur, one doing Kel) are perfectly fine. But the book is written with frequent breaks, sometimes after one- or two-sentence paragraphs. There is a pause of a couple or three seconds at every break. This totally disrupts the flow of the narrative, annoyingly. There isn't even the need for these breaks, as the next paragraph often is a direct continuation of the preceding one. Bad choice, very bad choice, by both author and the director of the audio version.
Kneel Before Zod!!
This started out good, and ended in a way I didn't expect...Not horrible but not the greatest story either.
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
The Lonely Heart
I loved everything about this story. My heart broke over and over again as I listened to Kel's story and his frustration as he sought out his real father, and as I empathized with Arthur throughout his struggle with loneliness. The relationships in this book were very real and painful. Was the book "fun"? No! Peoples' pain is never enjoyable, but this was a very special narrative that will follow me for a very very long time.
No, I have never heard either of these narrators before.
If I could have, I would have listened in one sitting. I was drawn to the book with such a strong pull as to have been magnetic.
This was a wonderfully written and narrated story. I can't recommend it highly enough. Many reviewers give a précis of the story but I feel that takes something away, for the potential reader of the book. Just buy this book... you will never regret it.
This is definitely one of my favorites. The performance was top notch and the writing...oh so perfect.. I loved all the characters and will miss them very much. They became my friends.
I thoroughly enjoyed this well written character study. The isolation and loneliness of the three main characters is heartbreaking but not really depressing. There is a hopefulness throughout which is very uplifting. I rarely write reviews but this audiobook is worth recommending and certainly worth a credit.