Heavy was our August General Track read and the first male-authored book we read. Kiese Laymon writes about his tumultuous upbringing as a Black boy in Mississippi and what that does to the body. Bry reed, a member of the #SmartBrownGirl Cohort, drafted the syllabus as part of our book club commitment to provide access across knowledge bases.
Our community was completely enthralled by Laymon’s story and his growing commitment to honesty. Here is what they had to say:
Vulnerable Poetry in a Memoir –Heavy by Kiese Laymon is a dynamic, poetically written memoir, that reaches deep into the soul of the reader. It encompasses nostalgic childhood memories from the black gaze of a male child growing into a man in the south in the 90’s. The music, racism, apparel, family dynamics, sexual encounters and experiences, climate, education, mental and physical abuse, and expectations of Laymon from others and himself shaped a dynamic individual. Through his experiences he is teaching the reader what he learned about love, lies, and the in between. Heavy communicates that what we think we know about life and what we see and learn are compellingly different. – Tiffany
Heavy Load – The things I most enjoyed about Heavy were it is rawness and honesty. It was Laymon’s account of his life and he did not pretend that his life is representative of everyone else’s life. He did not make his experience “the Black experience”. In fact, the memoir is so important because it was a Black male experience and it was specific to his upbringing and he did not portray it as anything else. I do appreciate the honesty he provided in the text because it added to the involvement of the reader in the book. The memoir certainly lived up to its name and touched on some heavy topics throughout. In Heavy, Laymon addressed issues which plague some American families because they remain unresolved and this is represented by the theme of weight and its impact from carrying around one’s hurt and baggage throughout life. The reader endures with Laymon and as a reader one is left with heavy feelings of depletion and longing by the end of his account. – Antoinette