Heft by Liz Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I ordered this book based on a recommendation from author Jennifer Weiner. About "Heft" she wrote: Every once in a while, you read a book with such well-written, memorable characters that you know you're going to remember them forever.
She's exactly right. This book pulled me in immediately, and I absolutely loved it. I really would like to give it 4.5 stars.
The story is about three main characters. Arthur Opp is a former professor, and now a reclusive, morbidly obese man (500+ pounds) who hasn't left his home in ten years. Charlene Turner is a former student, with whom he connected and maintains a sort of pen-pal relationship, and Kel Keller is Charlene's son.
After a period of time with no contact between Arthur and Charlene, she contacts him with the news that she has a son that she'd never told Arthur about, who is about to apply to college. She's asks Arthur to help Kel with his applications.
The story is told alternately from Arthur and Kel's points of view. Although Arthur is 58 and Kel is 18, you realize that they have a lot in common--the main trait being loneliness.
Although it seems like this story might unfold a predicable manner, it does not. The plot was unexpected, and it kept me anxiously turning to the pages to see how things would turn out. I cared about and sympathized with Arthur and Kel, and felt their heartache.
The story is beautiful and hopeful, and will stay with me for a long time. I didn't want it to end.
The only reason I can't give it a full 5 stars is because when the story is being told from Arthur's point of view, any time the word "and" appears, it is represented by an ampersand. I found it distracting After some time I got used to it, and it did help distinguish who was telling the story, but I still wonder why the author made that choice.
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