Heavy: An American Memoir

Version: Unabridged
Author: Kiese Laymon
Narrator: Kiese Laymon
Genres: Biography & Memoir, Social Science
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published In: October 2018
# of Units: 6 CDs
Length: 7 hours, 30 minutes
Ratings:
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Overview

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.

Author Details

Author Details

Laymon, Kiese

Kiese Laymon is a contributing editor at Gawker.com and has written for numerous publications, including Esquire and ESPN.com. He is also the author of a collection of essays entitled How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.