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.
Which came first... the books or the glasses?
I highly recommend this book. I enjoyed the story very much. The narration was very good.
I got this book based on your reviews and I wasn't disappointed- really enjoyed this story and the characters...I wish there had been more, but I understand why it ended like it did...
This book was completely different than I expected it to be. It was the high praise and the fine reviews that kept haunting me to purchase this book and I am so glad I did. From the name and scanning reviews, one thinks it has to do with weight in a physical sense when the weigh in the title has more to do with the emotional weigh we carry.
Heft is a fine example of a heavy book dealing with a lot of sad issues that, rather than being a depressing story, it’s compelling and hopeful tale that keeps you hooked from beginning to end. Yes, there could have been more resolution – but, there is always hope for a sequel.
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
The first really, really fat fictional character I met was John Kennedy Toole's (1937 - 1969) Ignatius P. Reilly, the hero of "A Confederacy of Dunces" (1980). No, the dates aren't typos - and neither is 1981, the year Toole's book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Toole's Reilly is New Orleans personified, in all of its excess, insular and corpulent glory.
Liz Moore's 550 pound Arthur Opp of "Heft" (2012) is no Ignatius P. Reilly, but Opp, the reclusive, disgraced night school college professor bears an uncanny literary resemblance to the actual writer Toole. Moore has an MFA from Hunter College, where Toole was an instructor long before Moore was born. I've never taken a writing class, but in my imagination, college professors of both sexes wear tweed blazers with leather elbow patches, a la Reilly; scuffed brown loafers with tassels; and stride confidently in front of a full classroom making Important Observations about Prize Winning Literature that will Inspire eager new college students.
Opp the literary character never inspired anyone except Yonkers-born and raised Charlene Turner. Charlene went to one semester of night school, dropped out, married, and had a son, Arthur "Kel" Keller. After her divorce, Charlene got a job at Westchester Prep School, where students dress carefully in The Right Clothes and a Mercedes for their 16th birthday is a modest gift. Kel is allowed to attend, and fits in surprisingly well. Kel may be from the wrong zip code, but an ace three sport athlete is welcome just about anywhere.
Both Opp's and Kel's lives are fragile constructs, and as William Butler Yeats famously said, "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold" ("The Second Coming," 1919). If Charlene Turner was the centre, "Heft" is the story of the fall and eventual rise of both men.
"Heft" uses two narrators. The Opp narrator, Keith Szarabajka, sounds quite large and almost out of breath. The performance reminded me a bit of Adam Arkin's performance as Dale Biederbeck in the television show "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale" (2002). Kirby Heyborne was convincing as a teenager.
[If this review helped please press YES. Thanks!]
After listening to Kel's YA hemming and hawing, I wanted a different ending for him and Arthur. I was really disappointed that Liz Moore, after so much great character development, copped out by not exploring her characters' trajectories. There was so much left undone that it leads me to wonder whether she is writing a book 2 and planning to make this a series.
Arthur's character was so amazingly represented and well written. I enjoyed listening to the narration for his character. Kel's character was also well narrated.
Arthur Opp was wonderful and I appreciated his complexity but I enjoyed spending time with Yolanda. She was bright, knew how to explore opportunities without taking advantage, and seemed to really get Arthur.
Kel Keller's chapters took this book deep into YA territory, which is a genre I have been trying to avoid lately.
Yes. I found Arthur endearing in the honesty of his remarks about his life. Keith Szarabajka's voice was perfect for Arthur's persona, which made this character believable. I did not expect to develop the compassion that ensued upon following Arthur's life and dissappointments. Contrasted and yet similarily dissappointed in life, the young Kel Keller was expertly portrayed by Kirby Heyborne; for which compassion of his tribulations fell in place almost immediately.
The dual story line--how they paralleled but did not intersect.
With the wonderful way that Liz Moore builds this story, I found both main characters equally as memorable. What would be the point of one with out the other?
Love's many faces
Arthur Opp was undoubtedly my favorite character. I became his cheerleader throughout the story. From the first preview listen to the completion of the book, the professor's humanity tugged at my soul. The professor had many insecurities and vulnerabilities that began in his childhood. We all have insecurities and it was easy to identify with him as a result. With such a limited support system, it was easy to see how he had allowed himself to dwell in a self-imposed prison. With each chapter, I found myself rooting for him as he attempted to overcome his personal issues to get past the traumas of his life.
Authenticity. When reading we often perceive characters in the manner in which we can best identify. Kirby and Keith were able to present the characters with the same traits my mind's ear would have heard them as having.
I would take Charlene out to dinner. She was equally traumatized by life as was the professor. I would have encouraged her not to isolate herself from the professor, because they needed each other.
The story made you think of the "what if's" and the "only if's" about these characters' lives. Just as everyone looks back on their own lives of the paths they left untraveled. In spite of the "what if's", I was satisfied with the conclusion.
I had never heard of this book but really enjoyed it. It held me from the first page (or minutes?). Only downside is that I hope there is a sequel because it ended a bit abruptly, although you can imagine what would happen next. In other words, not a cliff hanger but I would really like to spend more time with the characters.