Heavy: An American Memoir

By Kiese Laymon
Read by Kiese Laymon

6.30 Hours 10/16/2018 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9781508265818

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Provocative and genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon sets out to lose 150 pounds in a year, talks with his mother and grandmother about their relationships to “weight” in America—and chronicles what a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception do to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse. Kiese Laymon is a fearless writer. In his essays, personal stories combine with piercing intellect to reflect both on the state of American society and on his experiences with abuse, which conjure conflicted feelings of shame, joy, confusion and humiliation. Laymon invites us to consider the consequences of growing up in a nation wholly obsessed with progress yet wholly disinterested in the messy work of reckoning with where we’ve been. 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 his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and 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 personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations.

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Summary

Summary

A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice

A New York Times audio bestseller

The 2018 Audible Pick of Audiobook of the Year

Shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

Finalist for the 2018 Kirkus Prize

An Elle Magazine Pick of Best Books of 2018

Provocative and genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon sets out to lose 150 pounds in a year, talks with his mother and grandmother about their relationships to “weight” in America—and chronicles what a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception do to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse.

Kiese Laymon is a fearless writer. In his essays, personal stories combine with piercing intellect to reflect both on the state of American society and on his experiences with abuse, which conjure conflicted feelings of shame, joy, confusion and humiliation. Laymon invites us to consider the consequences of growing up in a nation wholly obsessed with progress yet wholly disinterested in the messy work of reckoning with where we’ve been.

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 his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and 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 personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Heavy is astonishing. Difficult. Intense. Layered. Wow.” Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author
“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
“Staggering…A heartbreaking narrative on black bodies: how we hurt them, protect them, and try to heal them.” Elle
“ Kiese Laymon leaves everything on the table to tell us about his childhood…This is a voice we’ve rarely heard speak so vulnerably and frankly about the truth of what it is to be human. And it’s a voice that, perhaps more than any other this year, needs to be heard.” Audible.com
“[A] raw, cathartic memoir reckoning with his turbulent Mississippi childhood, adolescent obesity, and the white gaze.” O, The Oprah Magazine
“One of the most dynamic memoirs of the year.” Boston Globe
“One of the most important and intense books of the year.” Los Angeles Times
“A challenging memoir about black-white relations, income inequality, mother-son dynamics, Mississippi byways, lack of personal self-control, education from kindergarten through graduate school, and so much more…Unsettling in all the best ways.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon is the author of Heavy: An American Memoir, the novel Long Division, and the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. He was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, and is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing and English at the University of Mississippi.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 6.30
Audience: Adult
Language: English