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Heavy - An American Memoir

Today I am going to write about a book that I would never have noticed in bookstores. Even though I love reading essays, columns and biographies, my attention has never been caught by the stories of black authors. I think that the Black Lives Matter movement is starting to decrease a bit, but that's no reason to ignore the fate of so many people.

As a white woman, I know how easy it is to look away.

Heavy - An American mamoir is a book that I can recommend to every person for so many reasons.

Worum es geht

The two big themes Laymon writes about are family and addiction. Heavy is also a description of his body, which weight fluctuates widely. This is partly due to food addiction, later due to sports addiction but also due to the lack of ability to deal with your own feelings. In addition, there is a family in which the topic of addiction is not foreign and the behavior towards the others is rather abusive rather than supportive. He writes about what it's like to grow up in black society in Jackson, Mississippi, as the son of a brilliant mother, who make his way through life.


The book is not a story that tells you from front to back what happened at some point. Rather, it is a matter of several essays from different stages of life, which are arranged chronologically, but in some cases have large leaps in time. Laymon begins with a section in which he is twelve years old and the reader accompanies him as he grows up and is very well taken along by the style and language. At the beginning Laymon only wrote what he saw and heard, wrote little about his feelings, as a twelve-year-old would do. Then later he becomes more self-reflective and the style of writing also grows up.

 

 

Precisely because this book has been recommended so often during the Black Lifes Matter movement, the reader is motivated to look for racism in this book. Of course, it plays a major role, even if it is not the main theme. The book describes wonderfully how racism works and how hidden it can be. There are situations here and there that are obviously racist, but sometimes the reader has to search or think a bit first. And that's exactly what makes racism so big in this book, even if it's not thrown at you with flashing neon signs. Subtle racism is much harder to digest.

Warum solltest du das Buch lesen?

Heavy is the right title for this book because it not only describes the body of the author and his experiences, it is also heavy material. These 240 pages are so loaded with events, feelings and experiences that it feels like holding 420 pages in your hand. There are biographies that you can read through and you don't have to think about what you have just read. This is not the case here. That may also be due to the structure of the book and the fact that I read it in a foreign language.

 

 

This is not a book that explains to white people how racist they are and how to tackle the problem. It is also not a book that blames a tour or directly denounces our society. This book indirectly describes the impact of racism on the lives of those affected.

T
he reader gets the chance to pursue a life and to experience the effects of racism, addiction and abuse in this way. It's a unique way to slip into someone else's skin.


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