I use audiobooks as means of an escape from reality. Nice to just relax with a book. Ienjoy a very eclectic array of genres...anywhere from chick lit romance to mystery to science ft. Just a common mother of three.
I will tomorrow since I stayed up all night to finish it.
Arthur....and Kell..... Both of the stories are just so engrossing. I acctually have much in common with these charecters, I maybe the only one though. Pretty screwed up. Such tragedy and hope all in one.
They were spot on. I think Szarabajka s performance was just so right for the character.
I just about threw my kindle at the end of the book. 5 stars even though I was very upset at the abrupt ending! I suppose it is meant to be a great ending. You be the judge.
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.
Arthur Art. He was very likeable and gave you insight to what it must be like to be overweight and homebound.
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected and really enjoyed Arthur's story.
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'?
I am someone who enjoys audible books very much now that they exist. As a young student (real young) I can remember a teacher telling me how books can transport people to different places & open up a whole new world. This is how listening to audible books make me feel. Now if I can just stop falling asleep while listening to them at night I would be fine. Ha ha
Well, first of all if the story emphasis had not been on bad family realionships, alcholism. poverty, obesity, self pity, teen-age struggles. laziness, illness, self-centeredness, dirty houses, depression, people making poor choices all over the place, insecurities everywhere, broken marriages, poor parenting, who knows it may have flown as a decent book. But wait, maybe if the ending had come together in a way that was pleasing maybe, but the end only imploded in on itself. So no, nothing I can think of could have raised the rating on this book
They were the only saving grace I even finished listening to it.
I would suggest they start all over with a story that was entertaining & not so depressing
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.
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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.