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Narrator Rating (12)

Heavy: An American Memoir

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Kiese Laymon

7 Hours 30 Minutes

Simon & Schuster Audio

October 2018

Audio Book Summary

*Named a Best Book of 2018 by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed (Nonfiction), The Undefeated, Library Journal (Biography/Memoirs), The Washington Post (Nonfiction), Southern Living (Southern), Entertainment Weekly, and The New York Times Critics*

In this powerful, provocative, and universally lauded memoir—winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal and finalist for the Kirkus Prize—genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon “provocatively meditates on his trauma growing up as a black man, and in turn crafts an essential polemic against American moral rot” (Entertainment Weekly).

In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to time in New York as a college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. Heavy is a “gorgeous, gutting…generous” (The New York Times) memoir that combines personal stories with piercing intellect to reflect both on the strife of American society and on Laymon’s experiences with abuse. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, he asks us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free.

“A book for people who appreciated Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family through years of haunting implosions and long reverberations. “You won’t be able to put [this memoir] down…It is packed with reminders of how black dreams get skewed and deferred, yet are also pregnant with the possibility that a kind of redemption may lie in intimate grappling with black realities” (The Atlantic).

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Reviews

  • Hillary W.

    One of the best listens ever - a powerful book made eveb better by the author's narration.

    Book Rating

  • Alyssa P.

    A door opened to the life of an African American man growing up in Mississippi. No matter who you are or where you come from, when you step through this door, you see his life laid out with painful familiarity... as we are all a part of the human condition. “Heavy” couldn’t be a better title for this book! Read by the author himself. Absolutely loved listening to this book.

    Book Rating

  • Jeremy R.

    This book was written strong...That being said...it was okay...Being from a background of ethnicity and real struggles and unspeakable domestic violence and poverty, it was a little like a juvenile complaining that the world isn’t fair. I commend the effort of weight loss and strong education but my mans...there’s some real life brutality going on in the world. So if you’ve experienced some of it this book might bore and irritate you.

    Book Rating

  • Nadia A.

    Heavy in every way. Also, wildly uneven a d perplexing.

    Book Rating