Kiese Laymon’s 2018 memoir, Heavy, made many best book lists last year. I got to it this year, partly because I understood that it was about Laymon’s struggles with his weight. It’s about a lot more than that. And Laymon’s struggles as a young, African-American man growing up in Mississippi are different than mine. With sparkling dialogue and deep heart, he talks about obesity, but he also talks about family, race, poverty, and the lies Americans tell about their country. He says he wanted to write the first American memoir and I think he succeeds.
You can read my full review by clicking on the title above, but here’s a piece of it:
The obesity belt [running through the Deep South] traces a trail of trauma—physical evidence of ancient sins and lingering inequities. Maybe bodies say what it is difficult or impermissible to say, especially in a landscape that can’t talk about race directly without coming apart at the seams.