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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  17,596 ratings  ·  2,626 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 mot ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 23rd 2012 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,596 ratings  ·  2,626 reviews

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Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: overdrive
"I am one of the world’s lonely."

Heft is about the pain of loneliness, the traumas of addiction, and the delicate ties that bind.

This is a beautiful and well-written story about an obese man, Arthur Opp, and a teenage boy, Kel Keller, who are dealing with loss. Arthur and Kel’s lives are connected through a tragic thread. They slowly find each other as they delve through the depths of loneliness and surface beyond their pain to embrace life. Heartbreaking, complex, emotional, and filled
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You know you've read something special when you miss the characters.

And Liz Moore has perfected the craft of creating memorable characters.

This is the second Moore book I've read in as many months, the first being An Unseen World, and l already consider her to be among my favorite authors.

I liken her style to that of Celeste Ng and John Boyne whereas the characters ARE the plot. They are fragile, flawed and soul stirring. And most importantly, unforgettable.

In the case of Heft, Arthur Opp wi
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... ...more
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
**This Author has a new book being released in January 2020, Long Bright River, watch for it, it is another 5 solid * book***

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 incredi
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.

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
Emily B
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 rounded up. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting but I enjoyed it very much.
It was easy to read, heart warming and breaking.
I have to say I enjoyed Arthur’s parts more than Kel’s.
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

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 weight b
3 to 3.5 Stars

I am struggling with reviewing this one. For general fiction it was quite different than other general fiction I have read. I had high hopes after reading Moore’s The Unseen World, but maybe going in with high expectations was a detriment to my experience with Heft.

There are some interesting characters, but I kind of feel . . .

And, the story is intriguing and well written, but when I stop to think about it . . .

Then, when it comes to the whole point of the story, the resolution, th
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
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 12, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

A thought provoking novel, memorable characters and an excellent heart warming story at its core.

This is a book I have had on my TBR shelf for quite some time and it wasn't getting my attention until a goodreads friend recommended the audio version of the book that I decided to give it a try. A beautiful story with characters you can connect with.

This is a gentle, relaxing read and a book I enjoyed listening to out on my walks.

Arthur Opp a former academic, weighs 550 lbs. He lives
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
Diane Barnes
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loneliness and the inability to connect with others is the over-riding theme of this book. It's a sad state of affairs for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons, because of both personal and outside influences, sometimes out of our control. For 58 year old Arthur, it was hard to let people into his self isolated world because of his shame over his weight. For 17 year old Kel, it was shame of his run down home and troubled mother that kept him distant. The link between these two people unaware of ...more
This is a story about two friends who could’ve been more, once upon a time in their past. One of them is Arthur Opp, an outcast professor who weighs over 500 pounds and hasn’t left his apartment in ten years. The other is Charlene, Arthur’s student almost twenty years ago; now mother to a seventeen-year-old that she has raised mostly on her own. Charlene was the girl whose dreams never took off. She medicates the pain of her lupus and the pain of her depression with alcohol. Heft is an amazingly ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
A marvel, what the author was able to do with this story using two narrators, two largely absent characters, and an essentially parallel story. Brilliant, sad, and relatable, this is made better with the audio. This is the kind of story that stays with the reader. 4.5 stars
Jul 05, 2020 rated it liked it
3 stars for me. I can’t go out of my way to recommend this book but it did make me cry (dammit!) so it touched me, in the same way that tear-jerker movies touch me (like Ordinary People, do you remember that movie?). Plus judging from the reviews (see below) everybody on the damn planet liked it.

A brief synopsis: a 550-lb former university professor lives in a house as a recluse because he is ashamed of his weight. He I believe is in in his 50s…certainly not young and certainly not Methuselah. I
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
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 virtual 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 ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-audible, fiction
****4.5 Stars**** This was a wonderful story and audio book! I meant to review....
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anybody else guilty of avoiding the blurb and plunging in blind? At best, I knew the story centered around a homebound man of very large size. Eating has become this lonely man’s solace. But he is merely half of the story. I had no idea.

As we in the US today overeat and indulge in Thanksgiving feasts, the lure of savory stuffing or cornbread dressing, buttery mashed potatoes, smoked turkey, and vegetables swimming in butter, maybe we can understand the man just a bit. When the book introduces u
Leslie D.
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiophiles, have-it
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 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
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
A well-told story with quirky characters I came to care about. The book could easily have fallen into a tale full of clichés, stereotypes, and predictable endings but this book does none of that. Highly recommended!

One caveat: in the audio book Arthur's narrator was perfect but Kel's narrator spoke so slow and deliberate it drove me nuts. I increased the speed 1.5x just to make him sound normal.
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
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Liz Moore is the author of the novels THE WORDS OF EVERY SONG (Broadway Books, 2007), HEFT (W.W. Norton, 2012), THE UNSEEN WORLD (W.W. Norton, 2016), and the New York Times-bestselling Long Bright River (Riverhead, 2019). A winner of the Rome Prize in Literature, she lives in Philadelphia with her family, and teaches in the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing at Temple University.

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“I feel like people are only really dead once you stop learning about them. This is why it is important to me to keep learning about my mother, and what she wanted, and what her life meant, what she meant by the life she led. Then she will be alive, somehow, and her wish for me will have come true. My vow is to learn more about her. To see her as she saw herself.” 7 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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