Arthur Opp, an obese recluse, finds a sense of family in his new live-in maid and the son of a dear friend from his past. Dr. Arthur Opp, a lonely 500-pound man, is a recluse. Twenty years ago he used to teach in Manhattan in an extension program from non-traditional college students. Charlene Turner and he spend much time discussing literature together. Their friendship extends beyond the classroom once the semester ends. However, he soon finds himself summoned by the college's ethics board for a hearing about dating a currently enrolled student. However, because he does not want to suffer the humiliation, he never attends the hearing or work again.
Click here to see the rest of this review
For eighteen years, he and Charlene exchange letters; he never has the heart to reveal he lost his job because of her. Life changes when he receives a phone call from Charlene telling him to look for her first letter back to him in over a year. When the letter arrives, it includes a photo of her son Kel Keller, whom she raised alone after his father left her. They then have a phone conversation in which Charlene requests that Arthur tutor her son, who wants to pursue a baseball career.
In preparation for their visit, Arthur hires Yolanda as a housekeeper, whom he soon befriends. Her five-month pregnancy with her abusive boyfriend, Junior Baby Love, eventually prompts her to move in with Arthur, acting as his live-in maid. She gets him to venture outside for a walk and to open up about his past. She learns that his father, a famous architect, rejected Arthur after he visited him and his new family in London.
Meanwhile, Kel deals with the alcohol addiction of his mother, who no longer works. On top of this, he lies to his friends by saying that his father died. His only coping mechanism is playing baseball. In fact, the local newspapers report about his chances of eventually becoming a major league player. Because of this, he refuses to apply to colleges. Instead, he works towards becoming a pro player and spending time with Lindsay Harper, his girlfriend.
Unfortunately, one day Kel finds Charlene passed out in her bed after an attempted suicide. He stays with his friend, Trevor Cohen. This puts a strain on his budding relationship with Lindsay once he spins out of control partying with old friends because of the guilt he feels. He finally comes to realize he needs to spend time with his unconscious mom at the hospital.
Once Kel's mother dies, he opens the letter she left for him. In this letter, Charlene divulges the identity of Kel's real father: Arthur Opp. Confused, Kel Googles Francis Keller, the man he thought was his father. When he visits him at a local hardware store, Kel learns the truth: Arthur really is his father.
To complicate matters, though, we learn from Arthur's perspective that he and Charlene were never intimate. Arthur tells Kel this truth and invites him to a dinner party. Kel, after realizing he will not start out as a pro baseball player, decides to give college a try and to befriend Arthur.
Best part of story, including ending:
I like how Moore uses narration from both the viewpoint of Arthur and the viewpoint of Kel.
Best scene in story:
I liked the scene when Yolanda convinces Arthur to leave the house and go for a walk. It serves as an inspiring turning point.
Opinion about the main character:
I dislike Arthur's fear of change throughout the book. Once he gets over this fear, the book soon ends.