Review: Heft

Heft

Heft
By Liz Moore
(W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393081503, January 2012, 352pp.)

The Short of It:

If you are looking for a book that is wonderful, heartbreaking, touching and incredibly meaningful… then you’ve found it.

The Rest of It:

At age 60 and over 500 pounds, Arthur Opp finds himself in a strange predicament. For twenty years, he’s remained in his house, refusing to go outside. What he needs, he has delivered to the house. Food, supplies, you name it. He’s a thoughtful man, and very lonely yet he’s been removed from society for so long, that he fears he may never leave the house again.

Charlene, was a student of Arthur’s in college. While taking his class, she and Arthur had a connection that neither of them could explain. Charlene, plain and socially awkward, found a friend in Arthur that she’s not had since. Not even after 20 years. Although their physical friendship ceased after she left college, she continued to write letters to Arthur for a few years and those letters meant more to him than she could ever possibly know.

Now, twenty years later, Charlene writes to Arthur once again to tell him of her son, Kel. She asks Arthur if he can help Kel by providing the guidance that he so desperately needs. Arthur’s excitement over her letter, sets a series of events into motion. For one, the hiring of  maid. An act that causes great stress for Arthur, after all…no one has been in his house for years, yet with this stress, comes friendship (of all things) and his friendship with Yolanda, the maid, brought many smiles to my face.

This was a fabulous read. Absolutely fabulous and it brought me to tears numerous times. These characters are wonderfully flawed and honest and vulnerable and well…real. It’s the type of book that has you cheering for EVERYONE and that is such a rare thing, to be able to cheer for everyone. The story is told by Arthur and Kel in alternating chapters and let me tell you, the structure worked for me. The beginning was a tad slow, just a tad but once you get going, you won’t be able to put it down.

Plus, this is the first book I’ve read that had a character with Lupus. As a person who tests positive for Lupus every now and then, I am happy to see Lupus getting some attention. It’s a disease that affects many, yet many haven’t a clue what it is. Although it wasn’t the focus of the story, the effect that is has on one of the main characters is touching and heartbreaking and devastating in the way only a serious illness can be.

As I was reading this book, I felt that it could easily cross into Young Adult although it’s not classified as such. It’s an easy read, yet deals with some really heavy themes, all of which held my attention and made me love this book even more.

Heft will definitely be one of my faves for 2012. I want everyone to read it.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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45 Responses

  1. Yes, yes, yes — loved this one as well.

    • The first couple of chapters were okay and a bit slow but man, once I got passed them and into Kel’s story I was riveted. I was looking at the reviews on Goodreads and some really slammed it! I honestly don’t see how those people could have even read the book.

  2. I’ve been eyeing this one for a while and think I’ll see if I can find it. Your review reeled me in, Ti! LOL

    • Yes! See if you can find a copy. It’s not too long either so it’s a quick, good read that will have you thinking about these characters long after you’ve finished.

  3. Thanks for writing a great review…I can’t wait to read this. Its on my TBR list!
    Beth :-)

  4. This sounds excellent! I love stories told in alternating chapters and have just added this one to my wish list. They often make very good audio productions, too.

  5. I can’t find it in my local library yet. May take awhile or never to arrive in the UK. :( Thanks for the review.

  6. I saw another review of this somewhere…you keep adding to my tbr lists…too bad someone beat you to this one…lol JK I’m glad that you really enjoyed this one.

  7. I love when you love a book…because you really love it!!?

    • I know! There are lots that I like or can appreciate for one reason or another, but there aren’t too many that I LOVE. This one blew me away.

  8. This sounds really great. Just added it to my WL. Great review.

    • Yes! Definitely one for your wish list! I am going to try to get my son to read it. He’s 13 and I really have to push him to read, but I think he would like this one as it’s not really young adult, but could probably pass as such.

  9. Everyone is loving this book, and yet it’s one I wouldn’t expect it. Of course, I wouldn’t have expected to love The Fault In Our Stars either. I love when an author can take a subject that might be unappealing and make a great book!

    • The story is about a lot more than just a guy who is heavy. The title pertains to a lot in this book and not just his weight! You would love this one.

  10. I’ve seen this one around and was looking forward to your review – so that I could determine if I’d want to read it. Of course after reading what you wrote I am dying to get my hands on it!! Such a great post, Ti!! And like you, I love it when a book or magazine or tv show touches on my health condition (AIH) – makes me feel happy that they are giving it attention (especially as its not a common disease). So, I dig that you were happy that they mentioned Lupus ( I’ve tested positive for it, too – but was told that it was because of my AIH, so I don’t have it). I’m definitely looking forward to this one. Thanks, Ti!!

    • I haven’t looked at all but it wouldn’t surprise me if the author has Lupus or knows someone who does. Lupus is one of those diseases that hasn’t really made waves as far as research in years. The same meds that were used 20 years ago are still used today. No strides have been made in the research dept. It’s sad really, that a disease so devastating gets no press. I know you feel the same about AIH.

  11. What a wonderful sounding book! I think there is a definite need for more novels with characters that you love and want to cheer for, especially ones that are “wonderfully flawed and honest and vulnerable.” Thanks for reviewing this one. I hadn’t heard of it before, but I definitely want to take closesr look!

    • I love books that just make you feel good about being a human being. With all the day in and day out stuff, work, family, stresses of ALL kinds… it’s nice to just come home and read a book that means something and has characters that you care about.

  12. Now I can’t wait to get this from my library, sadly there are already many holds in front of mine! Thanks for a wonderful review.

  13. I featured this book on my blog and then sent it on to my niece, a nurse, who will enjoy it, I’m sure, as will her teenage daughters! Nice review.

    • I they all enjoy it. I really think young readers will enjoy the story as well. Moore captured the teen angst quite well, I thought.

  14. I’m on the case. Off the library website (still icing my knees so I am doing “sitting” things) to order it one way or another. Thanks for the passionate review. You convinced me.

    • Hope your knee is better today. I haven’t needed to ice anything yet but I did rip my pants the other day thinking I was more flexible than I really am.

  15. I have been so curious about this book, and now hearing that you loved it, and reading your amazing review, I know that I have to read it or listen to it soon. Such a strange mix of characters and plot, but it sounds so moving and powerful. Terrific review today. I loved the care and thought that went into this one.

  16. I’ve been meaning to read this one since it came out, but after reading Liz Moore’s Modern Love column this week, I was sold. Now you’ve re-sold me. I may even sneak it in during my Orange reading.

  17. I didn’t know what this book was about but it sounds fantastic and I adore your enthusiasm. I like flawed characters very much and I like uniques, different characters. Arthur fits that category to a T. He also sounds like someone you almosy spontaneously root for. I’m always appreciative when there are charcaters who have some type of disopreder or disease especially when it’s a realistic portrayal and just a part of the character’s life.
    You have quite a talent for finding some of the best books worth reading!

    • When I first saw this book, I thought “Oh gawd. It’s one of those “thin person trying to get out” books but it’ not really that at all. The relationships are so special in this one and the author does a really good job of letting you in on their insecurities without it feeling like a set-up of some sort. I highly recommend it.

  18. This book sounds fantastic! I need to get hold of a copy.

  19. Well, I will have to make sure I bump this one up on my must read list. I have a copy on my Kindle. there just isn’t enough time in a day to get them all read!!

  20. Alrighty then. Putting in on my official wish list.

  21. How have I not even heard of this?! Consider it added to my wishlist!

  22. Sounds wonderful and one that might make an excellent book club selection.

  23. I’ve been on the fence about this one but I think you’ve con“`

    • Oh no… no fence to be on with this one. You will love it. Just know it’s a tiny bit slow in the beginning… just a tiny bit. Okay?

  24. Opps, babies helping me type. What I meant to say was I think you’ve convinced me to add this one to my list. Great review.

  25. Wow, one of your favorites Ti! That’s great praise. I downloaded this in audiobook format from the library after hearing good things about it. I can’t wait to listen to it now!

  26. I’m excited to read this one! I’m going to have my son read it, too–just have to decide whether I let him have it first or not. Maybe I can’t wait…
    Thanks so much for pointing me to this one :)

  27. I must be living under a rock because I hadn’t heard of this book until your review. It sounds fantastic and I will keep it in mind for sure.

  28. wow.. sounds terrrific! Thanks. I can’t wait to read it now. I am not going to wait three years either. I am loving hearing about books again for the first time and getting excited. Thanks.

  29. [...] Again (audio) by Diane Keaton 2.Wish You Were Here by Stewart O’Nan 3.Heft by Liz Moore 4.A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving 5.The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont 6.The [...]

  30. [...] the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan 12. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender 13. Heft by Liz Moore 14. Stay Awake by Dan Chaon 15. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow [...]

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