Written by: Kiese Laymon (Long Division, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America)
Publish date: October 16
Why it's worth reading: Heavy is, in some ways, simply a memoir, the story of a young man growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, a life full of hardships and, eventually, some success. It is about race, family, weight, sex, art -- sweeping themes all inextricably tangled in Laymon's life and, especially, his relationship to his mother. He addresses the book to her, and their fraught relationship, full in equal measures of love and pain. The intensity of Laymon's personal story would be enough to fuel a brilliant book, vividly told as it is, but Laymon has his eye on wider resonances, too, as he grapples with his life as a black man in America, the legacy he carries and the particular way he makes his way through the world. Laymon is an astonishing writer, always striving for honesty even when that means submitting to ambivalence and the impossibility of simple answers.
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