Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hunger: a Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

In Hunger, Purdue English Professor Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist, Difficult Women) applies her usual wit and wisdom to the story of her body and her relationship to it. It is filled with experiences that are astoundingly personal and surprisingly universal. With Hunger, Gay expands things touched on in Bad Feminist, specifically a childhood trauma and the ensuing binge eating that led her to become what she refers to as "a woman of size." She adopts this habit as both a way to comfort herself and to make herself invisible to people who might hurt her.

It should be noted that Hunger is not a self-help book or an inspirational story of a woman losing hundreds of pounds or even an inspirational story of a woman truly accepting her body and herself as it is. It is a memoir of a human being who has struggled and continues to struggle. Throughout the book, she opens herself up to the reader’s scrutiny, honestly approaching her weight, her struggle with self-esteem, and the difficulty she faces in daily life living in a society that judges her for her size. There are devastating parts and inspiring parts and parts that make one want to hide the book from other readers because it feels like Gay has given away too much of herself and parts that are absolutely hilarious. 

This is not a book that one picks up lightly, nor is it a book that once begun is easy to put down. Gay has described this as the most difficult thing she has written, and that will be obvious to anyone willing to give it a read. Hunger is definitely not an easy book, but it is one that will stick with readers long after the last page is finished.

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