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An American Memoir

Book - 2019
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"Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about the physical manifestations of violence, grief, trauma, and abuse on his own body. He writes of his own eating disorder and gambling addiction as well as similar issues that run throughout his family. Through self-exploration, storytelling, and honest conversation with family and friends, Heavy seeks to bring what has been hidden into the light and to reckon with all of its myriad sources, from the most intimate--a mother-child relationship--to the most universal--a society that has undervalued and abused black bodies for centuries"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2019
Edition: First Scribner trade paperback edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781501125669
Characteristics: xiv, 241 pages


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Chapel_Hill_KrystalB Mar 09, 2021

This is a real heavy hitter. Honest and intense. Eloquent and impactful. Admittedly difficult to read much of the time; glad I did. "It's easier to promise than to reckon or grow." Audio is author-read and recommended.

Aug 22, 2020

241 pages

Jul 03, 2020

Jun 06, 2020

Written to the author's mother, this memoir is beautiful, thought-provoking, and compelling.

Jan 27, 2020

Jan 2020

Nov 04, 2019

Intense. Beautiful. Good education for this white presenting, privileged American female.

ArapahoeStaff26 Jul 29, 2019

Passionate, and intense. The dishonesty and denial that inform all of American society with regard to race shaped Kiese Layman from childhood on. The painful legacy of slavery twists personal growth and relationships among family and friends. Laymon’s mother physically and emotionally abused him; given the context of their lives it is not hard to understand her motives – both conscious and unconscious.

Jun 22, 2019

Five stars. This was my favorite book of 2018, and my favorite book for the last many years. It is a beautiful memoir and I highly recommend the audiobook version, as Laymon narrates it himself beautifully. A must read for anyone who has had a mother, which is everyone.

Apr 18, 2019

How Laymon was able to get some much emotion into this memoir about his family and the impact of being black had on him is a feat. Not being from the south, not having to have my life reflect the honor of an entire race, knowing that what ever I did was going to meet with success, this was a real eyeopener as to why “Black Lives Matter.”

JCLMELODYK Dec 19, 2018

This immediately reminded me of Roxanne Gay's Hunger. It is a difficult read and several scenes have burned into my mind with such fierce sadness that I will never forget them. Generational poverty, racism and addiction are the themes. If you like Hunger or Between the World and Me you'll like Heavy.

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ArapahoeStaff26 Jul 29, 2019

Before both of us went to sleep, I asked Grandmama is 218 pounds was too fat for twelve years old. “What you weighing yurself for anyway?” she asked me.” Two hundred eighteen pounds is just right, Kie. It’s just heavy enough.” Heavy enough for what?” Heavy enough for everything you need to be heavy enough for.” I loved sleeping with Grandmama because that was the only place in the world I slept all the way through the night. …"Can I ask you one more question before we go to bed?..What do you think about counting to ten in case of emergencies?” “Ain’t no emergency G_d can’t help you forget,” Grandmama told me. “Evil is real, Kie.” “But what about emergencies made by folk who say they love you?” “You forget it all,” she said. “Especially that kind of emergency, or you go stone crazy.” pg. 60

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