Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

From the bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still t...

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Title:Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
Author:Roxane Gay
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body Reviews

  • Roxane

    I haven't written this yet but it will be okay. Food is delicious.

    UPDATE: I have created a Word File entitled Hunger_Book. I have copied and pasted many Tumblr entries into this file along with some ideas as to how to give the book shape. Food is still delicious.

    UPDATE 2: This book is still in progress so your low ratings are funny. Is this a motivational tool? It's working.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    The thing I always admire about Roxane Gay's writing, even when it makes me uncomfortable, is her ability to tackle issues head-on, with unflinching honesty. She may have hesitated, but you never see it on the page.

    This very open memoir about hunger and size is powerful. This is Roxane Gay's experience, laid bare. I can't imagine what it took for her to get all of these thoughts on the page. There is a bit of repetition or overlap between the tiny chapters, but this is reflective of the daily li

    The thing I always admire about Roxane Gay's writing, even when it makes me uncomfortable, is her ability to tackle issues head-on, with unflinching honesty. She may have hesitated, but you never see it on the page.

    This very open memoir about hunger and size is powerful. This is Roxane Gay's experience, laid bare. I can't imagine what it took for her to get all of these thoughts on the page. There is a bit of repetition or overlap between the tiny chapters, but this is reflective of the daily life of living the experience of being large in the world. The constant confrontations of well-meaning but damaging family, possibly well-intentioned but invasive strangers, the blindness of the medical profession (seeing obesity first), the connection between trauma and the protection of size, the damper that size puts on social life and travel (and how it is too difficult to explain it to friends, leading to all sorts of relationship issues), and how all of these truths make finding a place to just be, to relax, practically impossible. Why shouldn't food be a comfort?

    Of course part of my reaction to this memoir as a reader is what I identify with. I admire Gay for being able to look the layers of issues surrounding size and hunger directly in the eyes because it isn't as if doing so solves it. There are no answers here, but there are many truths. I wish I could make it required reading for many people in my life.

    This

    gives a good overview.

    oil

  • Emily May

    How do I even begin? If I could give this book a hundred stars, I would. And no, not just because it is important and it is heartbreaking - which it is both - but because Gay is one of

    . The difficulty was deciding how to use quotes without quoting the wh

    How do I even begin? If I could give this book a hundred stars, I would. And no, not just because it is important and it is heartbreaking - which it is both - but because Gay is one of

    . The difficulty was deciding how to use quotes without quoting the whole damn book.

    I was glued to the pages, completely rapt, as the author used words to create a plethora of emotions and reveal things about the world we live in. This is Gay's memoir from the time she was gang raped at twelve-years-old, to her later need to use food to build a fortress around herself, to her more recent life as a woman categorized as the horrendous phrase "super morbidly obese".

    It is not a memoir that asks for our pity, or tries to manipulate the reader, it is simply a woman's truth. Gay's self-awareness is painful to read as she talks about experiences in narrow seating on airlines, in movie theatres or restaurants, or at events. The assumptions people make about her; the "concerns" for her health; the ultimate belief that as a woman, a fat woman, she just takes up too much space.

    You can tell on the rare occasions when an author really lays themselves bare. Gay says the things that many are - for a whole variety of reasons - afraid to say. About rape culture, about fat people, about fat women, and about the fat acceptance movement. She says she prefers "victim" to "survivor" because she has been hurt and has suffered from what happened to her, and she doesn't want to turn into something more empowering than it actually is.

    When she talks about the FAM, she considers what many fat-positive women and men are not supposed to say - that it is not a simple matter of deciding that one's fatness is okay and attractive. We do not live in a world that allows for that mentality to take hold instantly, no matter how much we tell ourselves that weight and size do not matter.

    It is an

    that is made even more so by the raw, uncensored truth Gay brings to it. Gay is not happy with her body, but also angry at the world for being a place that makes her unhappy with her body. She says she is not strong and that she is not brave, but I beg to differ. Writing a book like this in a world like this-- I'd say she's one of the strongest, bravest writers I know.

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  • Elyse Walters

    Beautifully written....

    Tender, poignant and courageous....

    Heartfelt, heartbreaking and brave....

    Clearly, Roxanne's book deals with a dark, difficult and important subject. I can't imagine anyone more suited to explore what it means to be overweight.......

    "in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen".

    "Hunger" is a story that needed to be written.

    Roxane Gay says....."writing this book is the most difficult thing I've ever done. Too lay myself so vulnerable has not been an easy thing

    Beautifully written....

    Tender, poignant and courageous....

    Heartfelt, heartbreaking and brave....

    Clearly, Roxanne's book deals with a dark, difficult and important subject. I can't imagine anyone more suited to explore what it means to be overweight.......

    "in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen".

    "Hunger" is a story that needed to be written.

    Roxane Gay says....."writing this book is the most difficult thing I've ever done. Too lay myself so vulnerable has not been an easy thing. To face myself and what living in my body has been like has not been an easy thing, but I wrote this book because it felt necessary. In writing this memoir of my body, and telling you these truths about my body, I am sharing my truth and mine alone. I understand if that truth is not something you want to hear. The truth makes me uncomfortable too. But I am also saying, here is my heart, what's left of it. Here I am showing you the ferocity of my hunger. Here I am, finally freeing myself to be vulnerable and terribly human. Here I am, revealing and that freedom. Here. See what I hunger for and with my truth has allowed me to create".

    I love you Roxanne! Thank You!!!!

  • Esil

    Listening to Roxanne Gay read her memoir, Hunger, was like listening to a close friend divulging some of her most painful and intimate memories, thoughts and feelings -- if that friend also happened to be a wickedly good writer. It was uncomfortable, heartbreaking and awe inspiring. I've read other excellent books by women who talk about their own and society's reactions to their large bodies, but Hunger is in its own class -- so smart and real and infinitely nuanced. 

    I can't think of anything m

    Listening to Roxanne Gay read her memoir, Hunger, was like listening to a close friend divulging some of her most painful and intimate memories, thoughts and feelings -- if that friend also happened to be a wickedly good writer. It was uncomfortable, heartbreaking and awe inspiring. I've read other excellent books by women who talk about their own and society's reactions to their large bodies, but Hunger is in its own class -- so smart and real and infinitely nuanced. 

    I can't think of anything more to say about Hunger other than: read it, listen to it, think about how you feel about your own body, think about how you see and think of others.

    Well, one more thing... Earlier this year, I read Gay's short story collection, Difficult Women. I appreciated the writing, but struggled with the relentless darkness of the stories.  I suspect that if I read it now, I would see the stories in a completely different light, understanding that the violence, fear of violence and self-loathing are extremely personal to Gay -- not just there to shock her readers but born out of her own experiences and emotions.  I also now want to read everything else she has written

    Again: read it, listen to it!

  • Whitney Atkinson

    I want to give this a million stars. I want to buy every one of you reading this a copy. WOW.

    TW: Rape, anorexia/bulimia, fatphobia

    This doesn’t speak exactly to my experiences—and I wouldn’t expect it to because Roxane and I have very different experiences and personalities—but regardless, this is the most validating book I’ve read to date about being fat. It might be the only book I’ve read about being heavy that confirms that I can be happy with myself just for me, not only when a guy loves me

    I want to give this a million stars. I want to buy every one of you reading this a copy. WOW.

    TW: Rape, anorexia/bulimia, fatphobia

    This doesn’t speak exactly to my experiences—and I wouldn’t expect it to because Roxane and I have very different experiences and personalities—but regardless, this is the most validating book I’ve read to date about being fat. It might be the only book I’ve read about being heavy that confirms that I can be happy with myself just for me, not only when a guy loves me or if I lose weight. It’s as much about fixing harmful institutions of society as it is fixing our own harmful internalizations about being fat. I’m about to cry typing this just because it feels so goddamn good to read a book from someone who knows. Who has the same thoughts I’ve only ever written about in diaries and cried myself to sleep about but she voices so perfectly. Not fitting into chairs. Envying people with eating disorders but knowing how wrong it is. Struggling with how you want to look versus how society wants you to look, and whether you deserve, or can even achieve, either. Roxane wrote this for herself, but it's a book I think everyone should read, regardless of if you can relate to it. It's a necessary book and i'm so glad I read it.

    This book is a masterpiece. I’m speechless.

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    I’ve realized that Roxane Gay is, while not my style as a fiction author, a fantastic author of nonfiction. Her stories are so emotive, so well-conveyed, so horrifying and so

    And most of all,

    I’ve realized that Roxane Gay is, while not my style as a fiction author, a fantastic author of nonfiction. Her stories are so emotive, so well-conveyed, so horrifying and so

    And most of all,

    The writing here is just… it’s stunning. Roxane Gay seems to know exactly how to use repitition and exactly how to convey what it is to be in her place - emotions we’ve all felt, but maybe haven’t put to words. It’s horrifying and heartbreaking and beautiful, all at once. I listened to this on audiobook, and the experience somehow made it even more powerful. Gay’s narration perfectly conveys every emotion, perfectly conveys just how horrifying and hard to talk about her experiences are without melodrama or tears.

    I’m a little horrified by several reviews seeming to imply - or outright state - that Roxane Gay is making her problems worse by wallowing or by “refusing” to open herself to others - or even worse, that she is “choosing” not to heal. Roxane went through a horrible experience, and choosing to heal after an experience like that is

    The fact that she is working so hard at healing now is a testament to her strength. It is insane to me that anyone could read this book and have the immediate reaction “well, she was the one with a trauma-created eating disorder, so obviously she’s choosing not to heal!!” This response is horrifying and displays, in my view, a shocking lack of empathy towards other people. Or reading comprehension, for that matter; she is angry at herself for

    being able to heal faster. I hate being this person, but:

    I am possibly just as horrified by a comment saying that “she acknowledges she wants to lose weight, but also blames society for treating fat people badly!” So maybe this is a shock to a few of you [I’d hope rather few of you??], but

    Basic empathy is actually a thing you should feel for people whether their bodies - which don’t affect you, by the way - fit your standard :)

    Genuinely, if you wrote something like that in your review,

    . Examine why you felt so offended by Roxane’s criticism of societal systems meant to keep women with unruly bodies in firm self-hatred. I’d wonder why you weren’t horrified by her rape, by her own experiences, and jumped straight into "but why doesn't she just lose weight?" She's dealing with trauma and human empathy is a thing that exists. Jesus.

    This is a book that deeply affected me and one that I’ll think about for years. Heavy trigger warnings for disordered eating, body issues, and sexual assault, but this one is so worth the read.

  • Debbie

    Really torn about this one. On the one hand, this is an amazingly honest account of Roxane Gay's life with an unruly body, as she calls it, which developed after she was gang raped at 12. She ate and ate so that she could get big enough to build a fortress around herself.

    On the other hand, the book fell short for me. It was repetitive, for one, although I do think some of the repetition was purposeful--a stylistic choice. The language, to me, was dull. Plus there was nothing new on the subject o

    Really torn about this one. On the one hand, this is an amazingly honest account of Roxane Gay's life with an unruly body, as she calls it, which developed after she was gang raped at 12. She ate and ate so that she could get big enough to build a fortress around herself.

    On the other hand, the book fell short for me. It was repetitive, for one, although I do think some of the repetition was purposeful--a stylistic choice. The language, to me, was dull. Plus there was nothing new on the subject of obesity or the politics surrounding it. The tone was understated--some anger and sadness underlying her words--yet at the same time it felt strangely unemotional. I didn't feel attached. But I will cut her all the slack in the world. She is revealing who she is, the struggles she has had--who am I to criticize the way she tells her story?

    Racism, body shaming, and feminism are all touched upon, but the real story is about how the persistent PTSD led to loneliness, shame, hunger (of more than just food), and her weight problem.

    She expresses a sort of quiet anger about the way obese people are perceived and treated. Gay has had to learn to live with her large body, which is on display to the world. She has had to navigate physically through a land that can't accommodate her size in many ways. Chairs are too small, for example, and if the chair has arms, watch out—they can give her bruises. Her body size makes everything hard. Short walks are too long and painful, stares are too hurtful, conversations are strained. Her recounting of endless humiliations is heartbreaking. Learning about the indignities the author has had to endure made me examine how I think of my body and others’.

    As I said, most of what she said about obesity I already knew and almost all of the feelings that go with being overweight have been talked about before. However, her theme is groundbreaking in this way: Instead of talking about her food addiction, she talks about her body. It’s the first time I’ve heard the subject discussed solely from the point of view of body image. Seldom do people talk about their body. They talk about addiction and their difficulty in overcoming it. They talk about shame, self-control, self-loathing (which are all things that an unruly big body cause), but they don’t talk about how PTSD can change one’s body. In the past, I might have thought of PTSD as only affecting the head. Here we see how it blew away not only mind, but also her body. Eating allowed her to create a needed fortress while giving her comfort.

    I found her description of getting a tattoo fascinating. And she shed some new light on the subject of bulimia. Her descriptions of her humiliations were the most vivid and well-described. When she got into general non-fiction rhetoric, my interest waned. I wanted everything to be first person.

    Gang raped at 12. At 12! How do you survive that psychologically? The damage from the brutal attack will never disappear. She's in her 40s now, and she still thinks of her attackers, sometimes obsessing about the ringleader, who she thought was her friend. It is impossible to put myself in her shoes; what she endured is unimaginable. But one thing is sure--an experience like this will mess with your head in ways I can't begin to comprehend.

    Gay's story is a sad one, but she isn't throwing a pity party. She just wants to be understood, and she gets kudos for her bravery in revealing such personal information, for showing her underbelly. I'm thinking that writing this was probably therapeutic for her.

    How do you rate a memoir? Especially one where the author makes herself so vulnerable? I must remember that I'm not rating her life, just the way she tells her story. I admire Gay’s brilliance, bravery, and life, and I will continue to get my hands on everything she writes.

    I wanted to love this one, I really did, especially since Gay's novel

    is one of my all-time favorites. No dull language in that one. It still haunts me. The novel was based on her experience of gang rape. I felt it was a way more powerful book than this memoir, but I'm not at all sorry I read this book. I liked it, just didn't love it.

  • Jaidee

    I cannot jump on the bandwagon of this being a wonderful and empowering book.

    Sorry folks but as Ms Gay continues to blame the world for her unhappiness there is just no chance for peace. I wish her the very best but I would not recommend this to anybody.

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