Length: 11 hours, 44 minutes
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
A 550-pound former academic, Arthur Opp hasn’t left his house in a decade. Seventeen-year-old Kel Keller is the poor kid in a rich kids’ school striving for a baseball career. When Kel’s mother, a former student of Arthur’s, unexpectedly calls, it transforms both men’s lives.
Here’s what I thought:
I’d heard good things about this book before starting it, and I’m so glad that I decided to pick it up. I listened to the audio version because it was the only version that was available from my library, but it’s a wonderfully done audiobook, with a great dual narration by Kirby Heyborne and Keith Szarabajka, and I think listening to it added a lot to my reading experience.
The central characters, Arthur and Kel, are immediately engaging. The story begins with Arthur, who presents his situation in a very straight-forward manner, which I think makes it all the more heartbreaking for the reader. I got teary-eyed at least three times in the first hour of listening. I wanted so badly for Arthur to break out of his self-made prison and let other people into his life again.
When the story switched to Kel’s point of view, I was surprised as I wasn’t expecting a new narrator. I think in the end I actually enjoyed Kel’s chapters even more than Arthur’s, although they are both characters that you can’t help but fall in love with and root for from the beginning. You could argue that Arthur’s circumstances are, for the most part, self-induced, whereas Kel has little control over his own situation.
What he and Arthur can both control, however, is the extent to which they open themselves up to other people, and ultimately this is what makes all the difference. They can choose to trust other people, to let them close, and to accept help when it is needed. Although there is no definite resolution for either character by the end of the book, there is an opening of both their worlds that leaves the reader with hope.
A touching, engaging story–highly recommended.
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