Heft by Liz Moore Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

The following questions are intended to help you guide your high school students through a structured group discussion about Liz Moore's 2012 novel 'Heft'.


Heft is a 2012 novel by American author Liz Moore that explores the relationships between very different people brought together through their various struggles. It is a novel that deals with obesity and reclusiveness, as well as abuse, addiction, and class struggles. There's a lot to talk about with this book, and these questions can help guide students through that discussion. The intended audience for this discussion is high school students.

Questions about Plot and Characters

  • In one sentence, how would you describe the plot of Heft? What is this book about?
  • How are we first introduced to Arthur? How does this immediately frame our perception of him? What does this tell us about the way he perceives himself? If this letter is a major turning point in his relationship with Charlene, why do you think he starts it this way? What else do we learn about Arthur from this letter? How do you think Charlene felt when she received this letter?
  • Why is Charlene getting back in touch with Arthur? How does this impact Arthur? Why does he hire Yolanda? What impact does she immediately have in his life? Where do we see this in the novel?
  • How are we introduced to Kel? What was your first impression of this character? What do Kel and Arthur think of each other at first? What role does Charlene play in this?
  • What did you think of the author's use of two different narrators? What did you like about this writing style? What are the risks of this? How did the author keep the story straight and the characters' voice distinct?
  • What challenges are Arthur, Kel, Charlene, and Yolanda facing throughout this novel? How do they deal with these challenges? Do people always deal with complicated issues in the healthiest ways?
  • What is the climax of this novel? What brought us here? How have your impressions of the main characters changed by this point? How have the characters changed or grown? Who has and who hasn't? How is the climax resolved? What do you think about the final relationship between Arthur and Kel?
  • Overall, what did you think of Heft? Who was your favorite character, and why? Which part was the hardest to read, and why? There are a lot of issues brought up in this book and the characters are dealing with many kinds of struggles; why do you think the author chose to include all of these? How did you feel while reading this?

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