"Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career -- if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel's mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur's. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene's unexpected phone call to Arthur -- a plea for help -- that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel's own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives. Like Elizabeth McCracken's The Giant's House, Heft is a novel about love and family found in the most unexpected places."
"The first thing you must know about me is that I am colossally fat."
A fairly quick read -- think I polished it off in a day, give or take -- but with a much bigger impact than I'd expected. Very engaging characters; one Washington Post review calls them "quirky" but that almost trivializes how perfectly, painfully human Arthur, Kel, and Charlene become. Don't miss this one. So far, up there with The Namesake among my favorites of the year.