Saturday Spotlight: Heavy: An American memoir by Kiese Laymon
Every week I am going to do a weekend spotlight post focusing on the work of an indie, debut author or an author I think deserves more attention. As some of you may have read, Amazon and Goodreads are becoming a little less hospitable places for indie and new authors, and I think it is important to continue to promote new talent and get the word out. Sometimes it's difficult to read indie books, because you may simply not have heard of them, so I hope this post will introduce you to some new authors and some interesting reading material!
This week I am featuring Heavy: An American memoir by Kiese Laymon.
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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