Kathleen Q's Reviews > Heft

Heft by Liz   Moore
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Aug 14, 15

did not like it

** spoiler alert ** I was feeling okay about this book, but then the whole date rape scene happened and I didn't feel bad for Kel anymore. It's never really addressed either. The only reason it's "bad" is because he slept with the "wrong" girl. The author - a WOMAN- writes about how the boy can tell the girl is scared and wanted to stop, but he didn't care, he just kept going anyway. Um. Okay. And he doesn't feel guilty. At all. She just cries and tries to disappear but then the main character's friends just laugh at her. And then it's never addressed again.

I was uncomfortable rooting for the other main character who was so fat he couldn't even walk down his steps. I'm sure people like that exist but the most annoying thing about Arthur was that he enjoyed surrounded himself with women who admired him and who were "Simple but good." (Yolanda and Charlene). They made him feel important, like he was kind and taking care of someone. Kel mirrors that superior behavior with Lindsay, allowing her to take care of him.

Also, social services would have been called long before the mother died. She wasn't working and was on disability. She never came to events. His teachers and principals knew she was sick and yet they let this child struggle.

Nothing happens in the end, which I suppose is interesting in itself, but both characters were egomaniacs wallowing in self-pity who didn't try to make their lives better. If they didn't have struggles, they wouldn't be human. But of course their hardships are so much more difficult than anyone else's. I mean, that other girl in the book whose brother died? She had it so easy and that's why she's so well adjusted.

This was a novel about selfishness and superiority complexes in people who are not superior.
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Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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Theresa I started getting bored and skipped the party scene but now that I know what went on, I agree with you.


message 2: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan Freeman This is a well written novel that opens your eyes to other people in the world. Get over your idealistic picture of the world and open your mind. Why are you reading this book if you are just going to be judgmental and try to find flaws where there may not be any?


message 3: by Kathleen (last edited Mar 15, 2013 01:23PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Kathleen Q Megan wrote: "This is a well written novel that opens your eyes to other people in the world. Get over your idealistic picture of the world and open your mind. Why are you reading this book if you are just going..."

1. I didn't read this book to be judgmental. I read it to read it and then had some thoughts.

2. I don't think my views are idealistic. I believe that the two characters are very self-focused and selfish, and they surround themselves with women they feel superior to. That's what happened in the book. Also it's not idealistic to believe that a child with a mother unfit to be a parent (which was public knowledge) would not be removed from that home.

3. Did I say it was poorly written or did I say I had issues with the story? I said I had issues with the story.

4. I think date rape that is subsequently glossed over is a pretty big flaw.


Audrey Orenstein I read your review and I equally agree with M, this is more the real world than you might want to believe - the characters are rich and boys and girls do have that kind of sex all the time without looking back - that's life. Sorry :(


Kathleen Q Audrey wrote: "I read your review and I equally agree with M, this is more the real world than you might want to believe - the characters are rich and boys and girls do have that kind of sex all the time without ..."

That doesn't make it not date rape. I don't think I have an idealized picture of the world because I think date rape is a problem, regardless of social class.


Audrey Orenstein Did you feel that Charlene does not tell anyone who Kel's Dad is because she was in the same situation - a one-night-stand that she did not want? And is there anything to be read into the fact that Kel is more like his real father than anyone will admit? I don't think this makes it a bad book - I think reading beyond the text makes it much more interesting. These are complex characters with real life experiences. Kudos to the author for getting it right.


message 7: by Kathleen (last edited Aug 05, 2013 11:32AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Kathleen Q Audrey wrote: "Did you feel that Charlene does not tell anyone who Kel's Dad is because she was in the same situation - a one-night-stand that she did not want? And is there anything to be read into the fact tha..."

I feel like both you and Megan are just fakey profiles made to defend a book. I did not say it was a bad book. Having problems with a book doesn't make it a bad thing. Being critical of something does not make me "mean."

A "one-night-stand" is very different than date rape (one-night-stand implies consent). My very large problem was with that scene and how I was still supposed to sympathize with a rapist.

I also did not like the superior attitudes of the characters, who, like I said in my review, surrounded themselves with "inferior" women to feel superior rather than develop their own true sense of self. I felt the way Lindsay was treated was terrible. Her life was just as sad, if not more sad, and yet she was written as if she didn't have a care in the world and that once she was sad, but she moved on and life was just dandy - -especially after she found that wonderful human specimen, Kel (ugh).

I never said date rape wasn't real life, I said that scene was not okay (it's not) and it wasn't addressed by the author to be "wrong" in the fact that he raped her. It was "wrong" because he slept with a girl who wasn't Lindsay. I think that's very problematic in a book that young people will read. He doesn't even feel bad about it - despite knowing she wants to stop (he's aware that he should have, he sees she no longer consents) and he lets his friend laugh at her while she tries to disappear. My sympathy ends there because there is no redemption.

By all means, please continue to defend this book here if you'd like. I'm bored of this though.


message 8: by Amy (last edited Apr 04, 2014 01:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy I accept the fact that you think the scene describes date rape. But that is not how everyone read that scene. I for one did not. A lot of the author's description of the characters indicates shame and a lack of self-worth. Which is what I read both characters to be feeling during that scene. With that said I would like to add that I have NO IDEA how you came up with the conclusion that the main characters were egotistical or self-centered. I thought quite the opposite, that they both suffered from self-loathing (that manifested itself in different ways) and low self-esteem.


Audrey Orenstein Yes Amy! I agree


message 10: by Neva (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neva I think the "date rape" scene as you put it was not a "date rape" but a very typical thing that happens at these parties... and I'm a female saying this. The girl never said No.
Also, I work with disadvantaged kids and in my state there is nothing about this situation that warrants social services getting involved. They have way bigger fish to fry than a kid with an alcoholic mother. If they had to come see everybody whose mother is on disability we'd need 300 times the social services workers we have now!
I totally disagree with you. These characters showed a lot of strength in adversity and a lot of resilience and fortitude to try to live again after disappointments.


Kathleen Q Neva wrote: "I think the "date rape" scene as you put it was not a "date rape" but a very typical thing that happens at these parties... and I'm a female saying this. The girl never said No.
Also, I work with ..."


I don't know why this review keeps getting commented on, and I really don't care why. But I do want to respond to the "The girl never said No" comment. Because you don't have to say "no" vocally -- not everyone does, and to think that is terrifying, especially since you work with children. Kel clearly says in his narrative that he can tell she wants to stop and that she no longer wants to have sex. That IS a "no" whether it's said aloud or not. The absence of a no does not make it a yes.

Also, every adult in Kel's life commented on his mother especially those in his school. So, yes, someone would have called social services.

Please keep your internalized misogyny to yourself. I don't want it on my page.


Audrey Orenstein Interesting: you post a comment and people respond with opinions; yet, you are not interested in having a discussion where people have opinions different than your own. The power of this site is that readers can openly express opinions, as you did in your review. And that everyone has an opportunity to learn from what others write. I see where you might think that there was date rape, but people who have had experiences through of their life that may differ from yours may read the passage differently.


Kathleen Q Audrey wrote: "Interesting: you post a comment and people respond with opinions; yet, you are not interested in having a discussion where people have opinions different than your own. The power of this site is t..."

Yeah, no. Rape is rape. That's not up for debate. I'm sorry you don't understand that it is. Please learn about [enthusiastic] consent. There's also the fact that, you know, the narrative says that he sees she no longer consents. That means it's rape. Changing your mind in the middle of sex is okay. Changing your consent is okay. If she no longer consents, it's rape.

I'm sad that the patriarchy has blurred what rape is to you, but there is no way to "read the passage differently" because it is what it is. You may not understand it due to the internalized misogyny that we are taught growing up, but please take the time to educate yourself. It's truly heart-breaking to see so many saying that scene isn't rape.

Also, I'm fine with opinions. But I'm the one who gets these comments telling me I'm wrong or that I don't understand. And I do understand, perfectly. I'm just confused why a year-plus old review is still getting commented on by people who only have a couple reviews in their profiles.


message 14: by Neva (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neva It's getting commented on because you have given it such a scathing review, one of the few people who did and those of us who really enjoyed the book and disagree with you feel the need to defend it.
Pretty clear reason I think.
Also, I still disagree with you that it was date rape but believe what you like


message 15: by Neva (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neva even if you think it's date rate it doesn't mean you can't like the book


message 16: by Neva (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neva Kathleen wrote: "Neva wrote: "I think the "date rape" scene as you put it was not a "date rape" but a very typical thing that happens at these parties... and I'm a female saying this. The girl never said No.
Also,..."



message 17: by Neva (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neva You say - Also, social services would have been called long before the mother died. She wasn't working and was on disability. She never came to events. His teachers and principals knew she was sick and yet they let this child struggle.

I promise you this is not true. LOTS of kids have alcoholic parents on disability who don't come to events. Many people know it and no one calls social services and even if they did they would not have had enough evidence to step into this situation. I absolutely know this to be true. I don't know what ideal world you live it but this not how it works in the real one.


Kathleen Q lol


message 19: by Andy (new)

Andy Kathleen Q, I'm glad you encouraged people to learn about enthusiastic consent. I'd guess that many or even most people in the U.S. have never heard of enthusiastic consent and know nothing about the concept. The girl clearly was not enthusiastically consenting, and Kel raped her.

But for people who have never heard of the concept of enthusiastic consent or just don't fully accept it, it looks like a shitty, uncomfortable sexual experience between two stoned teenagers. For people coming at it from a no-means-no perspective, it doesn’t look like rape.

I would guess the author either doesn't know about enthusiastic consent or she does and she chose to construct Kel as a character who doesn't know about it. Kel talks about "acting out" sexually a few pages before the scene, and he talks about "getting away" with things with women . . . all of which suggests he's approaching sexuality from a rather “unhealthy,” “unelightened” perspective. I think the author may even have been suggesting that Jennifer was a damaged person to the extant that she was having a dissociative experience during that scene.

All of that said, I think taking that scene to such an extreme was unnecessary and distracting. A scene like that should be addressed more, and could be the topic of a whole other novel in its own right. Plot-wise, it would have been enough to just have them making out in the chair.

Kel does mention that he felt like crying aftwards, but wouldn’t let himself, so I don’t think it’s quite true that he didn’t have any feelings about it, but I guess the author was just rolling that scene into the general downward emotional spiral that he was going through and we are just supposed to accept that he’ll reflect on it that way later in life.


Kathleen Q Andy wrote: "Kathleen Q, I'm glad you encouraged people to learn about enthusiastic consent. I'd guess that many or even most people in the U.S. have never heard of enthusiastic consent and know nothing about t..."

Whoa, a positive comment!! Thanks, Andy.

Yes, I agree that Kel probably would not have said "this was date rape." But the scene didn't seem to fit, regardless-- like you said. Even if Kel didn't have that realization, maybe there could have been a little thing in the back of the book to tell people what date rape is? My copy had a discussion guide for classes and book groups, so a page dedicated to consent/rape would be a nice addition.

Making out would have been better, I agree. This adds a complicated layer in a book I felt was already built around a damaging view of women (which I know was intentional, since these men have problems with women.. but ... I don't know, it's hard to see that in media -- and see it well liked-- after events like that one in California with the shooting. Enough people already hate women, and using abuse/rape/etc as a storyline isn't edgy or new, it's boring. Obviously that's a broad generalization of media, but it just adds up).

Anyway, thanks for an insightful comment!


Speedreadersuz I liked this book but didn't like Kel very much; I agree with you, Kathleen, both Kel and Arthur were incredibly self-focused, but I still was interested in what their trajectories would be. One thing missing from a lot of the reviews is any mention of addiction. Self-centeredness is a major element of addiction and the author talks about how both Kel and Arthur are addicted to things.

Lastly, the scene b/w Kel and Jennifer at the party was troubling to me (why not say her name when he knows it? Regardless of how high/drunk you are? To hurt her/reinforce her low self worth/mess w/her head.) THANK YOU for introducing me to "enthusiastic consent." I am going to go read up on it now.


Kathleen Q Speedreadersuz wrote: "I liked this book but didn't like Kel very much; I agree with you, Kathleen, both Kel and Arthur were incredibly self-focused, but I still was interested in what their trajectories would be. One th..."

THANK YOU! This was such a nice comment to read. I love how you enjoyed the book, but didn't bash for not enjoying it as much as you. And I'm so glad you are going to learn about enthusiastic consent. That really makes me happy I left this review up.

You're great!


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