12. Heft by Liz Moore
Heft is yet another book I got a galley of at ALA Midwinter, that turned out to be a really good book. The book centers around the stories of 2 characters Arthur Opp and Kel Keller. They are joined by a common relationship with Charlene, who is Kel’s mother and who was a college student Arthur had a relationship with almost 20 years previous.
In the years since they last met in person Arthur has become a 550 pound housebound man and Charlene has become an a woman ailing with lupus and succumbing to alcoholism. Although they have kept in touch via letters throughout their lives they have not been honest with each other about their current situations. Meanwhile Kel is a high school student from a poor neighborhood trying to navigate life amongst the rich families where he has been allowed to finish out school due to his mother’s previous employment at the school. The book alternates between the stories of Kel and Arthur eventually drawing the two characters together and propelling them into their futures based on the small act of Charlene attempting to bring them together in what turns out to be the last day of her life.
I really liked this book. The characters were all hugely flawed, but very well drawn. You could acutely feel both their pain and small joys. I give it a 9 out of 10.