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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  15,605 ratings  ·  2,361 reviews
Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career—if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s moth ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 23rd 2012 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,605 ratings  ·  2,361 reviews

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Jennifer Masterson
This was so good! The audio was phenomenal! 5 Stars! All the feels!!! I will write a review on it soon. I promise. I've had a lot going on these past few days, and then today, well...the debate...
Well... this was a very heartbreaking book... Recommended but do expect a sad story....although... in the end it is a hopeful story too. Emotional read.

When you read the book cover you get the idea it's all about 'former academic Arthur Opp, weighing 550 pounds', and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Some day Yolanda comes into his life, a pregnant young lady who is hired to clean his neglected house he never leaves... and slowly his life changes. But really the centre of the
Elyse Walters
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook: narrated by Kirby Heyborne.... perfect vocal!! NO SPOILERS

I've wanted to read "Heft" for a long time every since being incredibly impressed with author Liz Moore's novel "The Unseen World".

I had also heard from a few Goodreads folks that "Heft" was a great audiobook. I 'think' it was Ron who first raved about this book to me - so thank you Ron.

ABSOLUTELY-- This is a wonderful novel - and immensely holds your attention as an audiobook companion. Strong character development for each o
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Liz Moore has written a book so heartbreakingly honest, I felt I was listening to the characters talk directly to me. Their voices were so real. She managed to convey the inner most thoughts and emotional conflict of both a teenage boy with dreams of the major leagues and a 600 pound reclusive professor who hasn’t been outside his home in a decade. How their lives relate to each other is through the boy’s mother, once a student of the professor, now a sick and lonely alcoholic. This book was one ...more
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
One might suspect that a book written about a grotesquely obese academic and a coming-of-age teenager would fall into the “been there, done that” category or at the very least,be reductive in its approach to its characters.

HEFT avoids those pitfalls. The key characters – Arthur Opp, the reclusive and obese professor who has not left his home in over a decade and Kel Keller, the son of the student that charmed Arthur many years ago, are quirky, engaging, and so human they will touch your heart.

Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

I guess I can officially call this the week of the fatties. Calm down and don’t get all triggered. I’m fat too so I’m allowed to talk about it (because apparently those are the rules as stated by those who take offense to errrrrrything).

Meet Arthur Opp . . . .

Twenty years ago he was a college professor. It was there he befriended a young woman named Charlene. Ten years ago Arthur stopped leaving the house and watched his we
Diane S ☔
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating story, not because the story has a lot of action, but because it is so real. The characters are wonderful, Arthur who had been a college professor, but has now ballooned to over 550 lbs. and has not left his house in ten years, Kel, who is 17 and a baseball prodigy and a young woman who is pregnant instead of finishing her senior year in high school. What these characters mean to each other is the basis of this novel as well as how they change each other. Definitely makes o ...more
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is about two lonely people and how they have isolated themselves in different ways. For one person it becomes too late for her to save herself but for the other there is hope.

There is so much raw human emotion in this book that I felt that I was reeling at times just thinking about them. I got up this morning having to finish the book. The narrators were incredible, the voice of the overweight professor who had lived a solitary existence for 10 years was remarkable. Then there is the s
Yolanda Lockhart-howe
The more I think about this book, in the two weeks since I finished it, the more flawed it becomes. There was so much to like. Three characters that I was rooting for deeply, even when one couldn't bear the weight of life any more and left, suddenly.

I love ambiguity in my endings. I hate authors (or film directors) that don't trust me enough to tie up some of the loose ends. But ambiguity is not what I experienced when finishing this book. Rather, it was the sense that I had been given hundreds
Helene Jeppesen
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a sweet, yet heart-breaking story about Arthur, a 600-pound-man living isolatedly in Brooklyn, as well as Kel, a 17-year-old high school student and baseball genius. We hear about Arthur first, and maybe that's why I felt the most drawn to his story and character. Arthur is encaptured with loneliness, but still he has managed to make a somewhat cozy and acceptable living for himself - at least if you ask him.
Kel was an interesting character as well, but he ressembled a lot of other tee
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh my gosh there were some tough moments in this book. In this case tough means good. Here I go again attributing emotional moments to how much I am affected by a book. That doesn’t happen every time, but when done right the hard places in a book only serve to make it better. A place in a story I won’t forget. A feeling that hangs with me for awhile afterward. And you know what makes the tough moments incredibly poignant? The healing moments, and the joyful that sometimes follow them. This book ...more
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Initially, I read the print edition of this novel, 'Heft' by Liz Moore but wasn't sure what to make of it. I decided to listen to the audio version narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Keith Szarabajka and the story came alive for me. After a great deal of time spent sitting with this novel, I am somewhat stumped as to how I can possibly explain the feelings this story evoked. This story was one of the saddest I have read in a long time.... it wasn't the overt sadness that I felt when I read the book ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
"In some ways I feel that I am everyone's son. That I have many parents."

What a book! I am so grateful for a friend's recommendation of it, otherwise I'm fairly certain I would have never come across it. I think Arthur Opp is one of my top five favorite fictional characters thus far. What a deeply sensitive, kind and lonely man. Sigh. My throat constricts just thinking about the awful circumstances of his childhood and adolescence that nearly stunted his adulthood. Kel's situation just broke m
Aug 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I became bored with the Olympics one night, I switched over to an episode of My 600 - lb Life and have been pondering it ever since -- how someone can get up to that weight so easily, how you can eat a feast by yourself but still be malnourished. (Reminds me of Henry VIII.) Fascinating stuff. It was right around then too that I happened upon the audio version of Heft and started listening to Arthur Opp's story, a very hefty gent who lives, and eats, alone. I sort of get him, not completely, ...more
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a wonderful, character-driven novel told from two alternating points of view. Arthur Obb, a former professor, is now unemployed and morbidly obese. He hasn't left his house, or even the ground floor of his house, in 10 years. Meanwhile, Kel Keller, a 17-year-old high school student, lives in poverty with his single, alcoholic mother -- something that stands in contrast to the new, upper-class school he is currently attending. He dreams of breaking free and making it to the major leagues ...more
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have-it, audiophiles
4.5 stars rounded to 5. More in-depth review very soon. Extremely touching stories of a man & a boy who are interlinked without prior knowledge until stuff hits the fan(s).

Narration Notation: While the dual narration was incredible, I found after the first chapter that speeding it up to 1.25x was perfect for me. I understood why the narration seemed a bit slow (related to the characters), and the narrators did their jobs extremely well!!

Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heft tells the parallel stories of Arthur Opp and Kel Keller. Arthur is a severely overweight man who hasn’t left his house in ten years. Kel is an eighteen year old with a very troubled mother. Both characters are sad, lonely and desperately in need of help. The subject matter of Heft sounds very heavy and the story really does carry a large emotional weight. However it never feels overly sentimental. It’s actually quite a gripping read because of the likeable but realistically flawed character ...more
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. Heft is about a depressed, alcohol-addicted mother and her athletic son; a former teacher-turned-overweight recluse; a pregnant young house cleaner; and over-privileged high school students. It's about being so overweight that you don't leave your house for a decade. It's about trying to overcome the parents and the neighborhood and the economic circumstances you were born into. It's about some people giving up on life, and about others who refuse to. Every characte ...more
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2016
These parents. These awful, sick, selfish, piece of shit parents.

You don’t try and eat yourself to death without a reason, and you don’t try and drink yourself to death without a reason. You don’t loathe your mother with every fiber of your being yet still love her more than anything else without a reason.

Arthur Opp has been bogged down for a long time. He’s a 550 pound recluse, sits around his house, stares, watches TV, orders everything online, and eats eats eats, and we know that something
I listened to this on audiobook and I found myself wanting to exercise or drive in the car just so I could keep listening. I loved the characters that Moore created. They were flawed and real and raw. The story was about loneliness and the need for human connection. While I enjoyed listening to both narrators, I was especially drawn to Arthur's character and his parts of the story. Szarabajka did a superb job of speaking Arthur's part. I could listen to that voice for days and days. Also, I love ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I bought this book because my cousin, who recently passed away, was a very large man and lived a solitary life. I'm not saying he was lonely, but he was alone. So when I read about this book and its character, Arthur Opp, who is also a very large man and, without a doubt, a very lonely man, I bought the book immediately. The first chapter of the book is wonderfully captivating and I had very high hopes for the rest of the book. The book is as much about Arthur as it is about Kel, the teenage son ...more
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
The heft in this book is the burden of loneliness.
Arthur, a morbidly obese ex-professor confined in his home, and Kel, a young man with high hopes of a sport career, live parallel lives without realising they are connected to each other. Both are lonely, they both have known grief, loss and the weight of isolation. Among the fragile secrets that they try to hide, there is hope for a better future, and the courage to reach out to others despite the fear of disappointment.
By revealing the intima
Betsy Robinson
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely book, but the cover copy does not do it justice. I've written cover copy so I understand the pressure to say something that a lot of people can relate to, such as "Heft is the story of two improbable heroes whose connection transforms both their lives." The problem is this never happens within the timeframe of the book. And saying it is not only a lie, but it does not acknowledge the daring truth of the book.

Liz Moore has written two separate protagonists, using two different fi
Sonja Arlow
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

A year ago I tried the audio version and just could not get into the story. The book blurb is also a little misleading, but I enjoyed The Unseen World so much I wanted to give this book a 2nd chance.

The story starts with Arthur Opp, he is a morbidly obese recluse living off a trust fund. It took a while for me to warm to Arthur, but he turned out to be a fascinating character.

Many years ago when Arthur was still a professor he met Charlene, a shy student who seemed a kindred spirit. She
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who has a morbidly obese friend or family member
Refreshing and unexpected

We expect our movie and television characters being beautiful, successful, or rich. Even when they are ordinary people, they often have beautiful homes and wear great clothes. Literary characters are also often rich, successful, charismatic, or beautiful; if not, they possess amazing talents, powers or secrets. If there wasn’t something compelling about our protagonists, how could we possibly identify with them? Root for them? Engage in their story? Meet Arthur Opp, a 5
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I must start by saying that I absolutely loved loved this book. The characters in the book are the book. We meet Arthur Opp and we meet Kel Keller- their connection is Charlene- Kel's mother. We are told both their stories; we hear both their voices; we know that they are headed for a connection- and we continue reading waiting for this to happen. I was so drawn into these people. They were not perfect people- they were human filled with all sorts of insecurities, most importantly the feeling of ...more
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.7 stars. Not at all what I expected. Will review soon.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am one of the world's lonely.

I loved the author's previous book The Unseen World as she managed to combine a few different genres in one story. Reading her opening paragraph in Heft I was reminded that I also liked it, because she can really write.

These days I often find that authors take a while to set the scene and provide background, before they actually start writing the story. Liz Moore starts writing her story in the first sentence, and creates such likable, genuine and fully-fledged cha
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites

Three Things...

1. I want more than anything to befriend Arthur Opp. I want my children to know him. And my husband. We would be better people for it. His isolation and loneliness were heartbreaking to me. I'm not likely to forget his story.

2. Ditch the print version, the audiobook is spectacular. Casting was flawless.

3. The story did not go in the direction I was hoping for, nor did it end as I had anticipated. It left me sad, but hopeful. This may be my most favorite boo
'I would remind myself of how many people there were like me, & how many people fall into the despair of loneliness...'

This is a review where I have to be careful not to be over the top, because, plainly said, I loved this book so, so much.

Arthur Opp, at around 550 pounds, is extremely overweight, and he hasn't left his large home in Brooklyn in ten years. He was an academic, but no longer works, supporting himself through money from a father he never sees, and ordering everything from food
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA Book about Man with Binge Eating Disorder. [s] 8 201 Sep 16, 2018 12:54PM  
An exceptonal book - a no regrets spending the time reading book. 9 97 Aug 31, 2016 01:39PM  
Eclectic Readers: Heft 5 40 Jun 30, 2014 07:15PM  
Critical Era: Author Appearance: Liz Moore! 2 28 May 30, 2012 10:36AM  
Critical Era: Heft gets the Kirkus star! 1 27 May 30, 2012 06:52AM  
Gwinnett County P...: Heft 1 18 Mar 19, 2012 09:55AM  
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Liz Moore is a writer of fiction and creative nonfiction.

Her first novel, The Words of Every Song (Broadway Books, 2007), centers on a fictional record company in New York City just after the turn of the millennium. It draws partly on Liz's own experiences as a musician. It was selected for Borders' Original Voices program and was given a starred review by Kirkus. Roddy Doyle wrote of it, "This is
“...this idea I had of an oversoul of loneliness. A connectedness among the world's lonely that I could turn to when I was very low. There was a delicious romance in being utterly alone, & I told myself I was nobler for it, & that there was a purpose to my solitude, O there must be.” 12 likes
“We talk for a very long time and I ask her if it gets easier and she says not really, just different. A different duller kind of hurt, the kind that doesn't surprise you anymore.
I ask what her parent were like when it happened and she says they have never been the same.”
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