Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon


A wrenching and provocative memoir about weight, abuse, and race, written with the charged intellect of Ta-Nehisi Coates and the piercing candor of Roxane Gay, by popular, award-winning essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon.

A personal story about family abuse: Laymon started writing this book at the age of eleven. His book explores his issues with weight as they relate to his family and abuse. Its grounding in some of the most important issues of our time, combined with Laymon's considerable standing, will, among other things, make this ideal for off-the-book-page coverage.

Perennially important issue shown from a fresh perspective: Problems with body image-and related issues such as low self-esteem and eating disorders-are an enduringly relevant topic, but rarely are they shown from the point-of-view of a man. In Heavy, Laymon offers a fresh, unheard, and urgent understanding of body image issues and, importantly, exposes their connection to racial prejudices and violence.

Acclaimed essayist writes his first memoir: Laymon is the author of the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and his essays have been included in Best American Essays, Best of the Net, and the Atlantic's Best Essays. His essay "My Vassar Faculty ID Makes Everything OK" has 815,000 hits. One of his essays was included in Jesmyn Ward's popular anthology, The Fire This Time. He writes provocatively about race, and many of the themes he explores in his shorter work will be fully developed in his memoir.

A major voice with a growing profile: Fusing the poignant, forceful rhetoric of James Baldwin with the forthrightness of Roxane Gay, Laymon's unique raw voice has earned him wide attention. His essays have found increasingly larger audiences in EsquireGuernicaColorlines, NPR, ESPN, and the Los Angeles Times, and he is an opinion columnist for The Guardian. His contacts at those media sources will be eager to cover Heavy. Laymon has taken a break from writing essays in order to build interest in a series of articles he plans to roll out in the months leading up to publication. The Millions has already included the book in a roundup of most anticipated upcoming titles, and Laymon has been reading from the memoir on college campuses for the last year.

Among his generation's great thinkers: From Michelle Alexander to Ta-Nehisi Coates, a rising generation of Black intellectuals-armed with new perspectives and different aims-has ushered in a moment for radical thinking about race not seen in this country since the 1960s and 1970s. Laymon's work self-consciously grapples with the ideas of this new group of thinkers, and he is well positioned to become one of its leading voices.

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