Book Review: Heft by Liz Moore

Heft by Liz MooreI have read a few books about overweight characters that I found both entertaining as well as inspiring (see below). So, knowing that Heft was about a heavy college professor, I was keen to read it. Marie of GirlvsBookshelf very kindly offered her copy to me and it was indeed a very good story.

Heft: What it is about

This is a story about two men that don’t know each other. Arthur Opp is a very overweight man, a college professor who has not been teaching for many years. He’s lonely in his house and most of the time he eats and watches television. Out of the blue he gets a letter from Charlene, a former student that he befriended when he was teaching. They have not seen each other for close to 20 years. She wants him to meet her teenage son and help him with his studies. Arthur wants to help, but he’s a mess and so is his home. He hires a cleaner and this sets into motion some big changes for Arthur.

Then there is Kel Keller, Charlene’s son, who is very good at sports, especially baseball. He lives with his mother and it’s not a happy family. We follow his life for a while from the moment that Charlene has contacted Arthur.

Heft: What I thought

This story was as good as I hoped. I loved the flawed characters and the way they try to improve their lives. I loved Yolanda, Arthur’s cleaner, who just takes him as he is and does not judge him for his weight or the state of his house. And Lindsay, Kel’s girlfriend, was a lovely girl too. But most of all I loved Kel and Arthur. They were so believable and real.

Kel struggled with general teenage struggles, but also with his mother’s illness and his wish to find his father. Arthur is a clever man but he has let himself go. He struggles to get back to a more normal life, and the reader also gets to look into Arthur’s past.

The writing was very good too. Both Arthur and Kel get their own chapters, which are written in the first person. They both tell the story as it progresses with the occasional flash back to the past.

The story was not a happy one, but there was the constant hope that things would improve. Sometimes that’s enough to make a book a good one.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)

Number of pages: 352

First published: 2012

I got this book: from Marie of GirlvsBookshelf after I commented on her review, which you can find HERE

Genre: contemporary fiction

Extra: Other books with overweight people as main characters: The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty (link to Goodreads) and The Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens (link to my review).


Have you read this book?

What did you think?


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

16 Responses to Book Review: Heft by Liz Moore

  1. Too Fond says:

    I’ve had this one on my radar for a while–thanks for your great review!

  2. Stephanie says:

    This sounds like a great character study. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Another one for my list..this sounds fantastic 🙂

  4. I loved this book too. What I liked most was the way it avoided stereotypes and gave such an emotional story without being predictable. I’m really pleased that you enjoyed it too.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Jackie, I’m sure I read about this book on your blog first and you made it sound great (and it was). Yes, it was wonderful how it avoided stereotypes.

  5. This look like a great story, Judith, that I would enjoy too. Thanks!

  6. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to read this, but you’ve cemented it for me: I’m in! Thanks!

  7. New title to me but sounds like a good read!

  8. Marie says:

    Glad you liked it, Judith! I loved Yolanda too, the parts of the story that she featured in brought a smile to my face. I think I may have been in a slightly melancholy mood when I was reading this and that’s why I wasn’t struck by the sense of hope that you felt at the end. Either way, I thought it was a great book!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Marie, the mood you’re in definitely influences how you read a book. Thanks again for the book. It’s now with a friend but I’m already missing it. I want my book back!!! 🙂

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