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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

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From the New York Times 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, bu From the New York Times 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 there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.” In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself. With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.


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From the New York Times 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, bu From the New York Times 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 there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.” In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself. With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

30 review for Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not. This is not a story of triumph, but this is a story that demands to be told and deserves to be heard. 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 best writers I've ever known. The difficulty was deciding how to use quotes without quoting the People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not. This is not a story of triumph, but this is a story that demands to be told and deserves to be heard. 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 best writers I've ever known. 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". Mine is not a success story. Mine is, simply, a true story. 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. I do not want pity or appreciation or advice. I am not brave or heroic. I am not strong. I am not special. I am one woman who has experienced something countless women have experienced. I am a victim who survived. *** He said/she said is why so many victims (or survivors, if you prefer that terminology) don’t come forward. All too often, what “he said” matters more, so we just swallow the truth. We swallow it, and more often than not, that truth turns rancid. It spreads through the body like an infection. It becomes depression or addiction or obsession or some other physical manifestation of the silence of what she would have said, needed to say, couldn’t say. 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. To be clear, the fat acceptance movement is important, affirming, and profoundly necessary, but I also believe that part of fat acceptance is accepting that some of us struggle with body image and haven’t reached a place of peace and unconditional self-acceptance. It is an incredibly powerful memoir 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. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 5 out of 5

    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. 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    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 An Untamed State 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hank Stuever

    This book is inoculated from too much criticism, because it is indeed an act of courage to write a memoir about having been gang-raped at 12 and draw a direct line from that hideous crime, in no way her fault, to her life of shame-eating her way to extreme obesity, which is, we are to understand, also in no way her fault, a point of view that I suspect will still be difficult for many readers to swallow. (I say that as someone who currently weighs far more than I reasonably should, and totally g This book is inoculated from too much criticism, because it is indeed an act of courage to write a memoir about having been gang-raped at 12 and draw a direct line from that hideous crime, in no way her fault, to her life of shame-eating her way to extreme obesity, which is, we are to understand, also in no way her fault, a point of view that I suspect will still be difficult for many readers to swallow. (I say that as someone who currently weighs far more than I reasonably should, and totally gets how outside factors like stress and emotional state get us there.) I wonder if Roxane Gay was indeed ready to write this book -- she frames it as a difficult experience to write and finish and publish it and there is equivocation on every page, sometimes every sentence, and nothing like the stronger, more direct prose and voice of her essays/op-eds on feminism and society. She picked the hardest thing in her life to write about, but then makes a lot of loops around it, in writing that is often loopy and unsure and technically prettified/poeticized but doesn't really say what she's trying to say. That would be my response if I was editing the manuscript; it is in no way a response to her pain and suffering. My criticism of the writing may also have something to do with the times. Roxane Gay's voice was born and championed via the Internet, which means that a lot of "Hunger" bears the stream-of-consciousness informality of blog entries. It's a highly personal form of writing, like journaling, that, in its rawness and simplicity, lacks a universal oomph that would lift this memoir up to the level of the great memoirs. "Hunger" is very, very inward-directed; only near the end does she try to lift her story up and out to the world and the reader. There's also a lot of lazy language and redundancy; many occasions where she could be more descriptive instead of just leaning on crutch phrases and forging ahead. I say that knowing that other readers will find the style suits them just fine -- in fact, they relate to it better _because_ it's such a casual, conversational non-style of writing. But I'm picky that way. For example, I wish writers like Gay, who surely knows what real hate is, wouldn't use the word "hate" so much for banal occurrences in everyday life that we simply don't like or don't prefer: food, habits, celebrities, minor inconveniences, awkward moments. I found Gay using the word "hate" in this way more than a dozen times in "Hunger," and maybe many more (I should have counted them). What she's describing is not hatred, it's just loathing or disliking or some other, better word for a reaction. In the arts/culture section of the newspaper where I work, I find that we throw the word "hate" around, in headlines and blog items especially, when what we really mean is dislike or thumbs-down or no-thank-you. But I get it -- the hate horse left the barn some time ago, so I should probably find a way to get past it, because it seems to be the Internet's favorite word.

  5. 5 out of 5

    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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    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!!!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elle (ellexamines)

    “I do not want pity or appreciation or advice. I am not brave or heroic. I am not strong. I am not special. I am one woman who has experienced something countless women have experienced. I am a victim who survived.” This is one of the most powerful memoirs I have ever read. 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 real. And most of all, so incredibly well w “I do not want pity or appreciation or advice. I am not brave or heroic. I am not strong. I am not special. I am one woman who has experienced something countless women have experienced. I am a victim who survived.” This is one of the most powerful memoirs I have ever read. 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 real. And most of all, so incredibly well written. 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. → 🌺 let's talk empathy ← 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 work. 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 not being able to heal faster. I hate being this person, but: why are you all like this? 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 people don’t deserve to be treated as less than human because their bodies don’t look how you feel they should. Basic empathy is actually a thing you should feel for people whether their bodies, which do not affect you, fit your standards or not. Genuinely, if you wrote something like that in your review, you should maybe look at yourself. 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. Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube

  8. 5 out of 5

    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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    I finished Hunger five hours ago and still feel such overwhelming gratitude for Roxane Gay's writing; this memoir is my favorite 2017 read by far and one of those rare works that makes me so thankful for my ability to read at all. Hunger focuses on Gay's fatness, how being fat has affected her life in so many negative and unfair ways, and the rape she experienced as a twelve-year-old that precipitated her weight gain. She has an enormous talent for confronting complex, ugly truths in her writing I finished Hunger five hours ago and still feel such overwhelming gratitude for Roxane Gay's writing; this memoir is my favorite 2017 read by far and one of those rare works that makes me so thankful for my ability to read at all. Hunger focuses on Gay's fatness, how being fat has affected her life in so many negative and unfair ways, and the rape she experienced as a twelve-year-old that precipitated her weight gain. She has an enormous talent for confronting complex, ugly truths in her writing and for injecting nuance into difficult subjects that we would rather see as simple. There are no clear victories or easy solutions in Hunger. Instead of cookie-cutter niceties, Gay offers a harrowing and honest account of her suffering, as well as the painful, slow, and necessary steps she has taken to heal. As writer Caroline Knapp does in her splendid memoir Appetites , Gay blends the personal and the political with great skill, showing how food intersects with feminism which intersects with sexism which intersects with trauma and so much more. A passage that exemplifies what I mean: "Losing control of my body was a matter of accretion. I began eating to change my body. I was willful in this. Some boys had destroyed me, and I barely survived it. I knew I wouldn't be able to endure another such violation, and so I ate because I thought that if my body became repulsive, I could keep men away. Even at that young age, I understood that to be fat was to be undesirable to men, to be beneath their contempt, and I already knew too much about their contempt. This is what most girls are taught - that we should be slender and small. We should not take up space. We should be seen and not heard, and if we are seen, we should be pleasing to men, acceptable to society. And most women know this, that we are supposed to disappear, but it's something that needs to be said, loudly, over and over again, so that we can resist surrendering to what is expected of us." As with all great memoirs, Gay's vulnerability in Hunger makes it a phenomenal, empathy-inspiring read. She shares some of the most embarrassing, disturbing instances of discrimination she has faced as a fat person, ranging from both internet trolls and medical professionals berating her because of her weight, to how she could not find seating that would fit her in airplanes, movie theaters, etc. She elevates the intensity and quality of these disclosures by admitting the painful emotions that accompanied them: her sheer hunger for both the safety of invisibility and her right to visibility, the self-loathing society instilled within her because of her weight, and her desperate and sometimes self-destructive pleas for love. In large part because of her distinct voice, Gay somehow manages to make this memoir insightful, heartbreaking, uncomfortable, authentic, and sometimes even humorous all at once. Overall, a difficult and worthwhile book I would recommend to everyone. I had the pleasure of getting dinner with Ms. Gay when she visited my college's campus in 2015, where she mentioned to me that she was working on this book. As a nineteen-year-old, I was intimidated and starstruck by her intelligence and wit. But ultimately, I was won over by how human she was: she was tired that day from an exhausting flight and it showed, and she still exuded kindness and good humor. I could hear her incisive and self-aware and oh so human voice in every single page of Hunger. I want to share one last quote from the book to close this review: "In writing this memoir of my body, in telling you these truths about my body, I am sharing my truth and mine alone. I understand if the 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, reveling in that freedom. Here. See what I hunger for and what my truth has allowed me to create." Thank you, Roxane Gay, for empowering victims and survivors of eating disorders and various forms of assault - myself included - to honor our hunger and to use our stories to create. Thank you for showing, once again, how writing can unify and fortify and ultimately, help in the healing process.

  10. 5 out of 5

    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!

  11. 4 out of 5

    chan ☆

    really hard & really powerful

  12. 4 out of 5

    emma

    The fact that this book exists is such a goddamn gift. And what a brave thing it was for Roxane Gay to give it to us. Beyond that, I can't write anything about this I would like as much as Whitney's review. 4.5 stars ---------------- currently-reading updates the reading everything by roxane gay project continues...NOW The fact that this book exists is such a goddamn gift. And what a brave thing it was for Roxane Gay to give it to us. Beyond that, I can't write anything about this I would like as much as Whitney's review. 4.5 stars ---------------- currently-reading updates the reading everything by roxane gay project continues...NOW

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I am of two minds about this book. Firstly, Roxanne Gay's suffering is unimaginable. Reading this was hard, hard to read someone's account of their living hell and building a body as a cage because life is so dangerous and cruel. And it is. She's right about that. What Roxanne experienced, her brutal gang rape, traumatised her, brutalised her, and got her fixated on her BODY. I have deep compassion for her. The book was also illuminating in its exploration of culture's cruelty, prejudice, and rhet I am of two minds about this book. Firstly, Roxanne Gay's suffering is unimaginable. Reading this was hard, hard to read someone's account of their living hell and building a body as a cage because life is so dangerous and cruel. And it is. She's right about that. What Roxanne experienced, her brutal gang rape, traumatised her, brutalised her, and got her fixated on her BODY. I have deep compassion for her. The book was also illuminating in its exploration of culture's cruelty, prejudice, and rhetoric about weight. Eye opening. But... This book needed good editing. Too long, TMI, Roxanne exposes EVERYTHING and too much transparency soon begins to overwhelm and numb the reader, and to what purpose? Structure of book was chaotic and repetitive. Occurred like the binge eating and vomiting that Gay describes so well. Occurred, to me, as self indulgent and after awhile I just felt, enough already. If I read about how much she hates herself again, i am going to scream. Her suffering lost poignancy as she wallowed around in it over and over and over. After years of denial and secrecy, feels like she used the book to purge. Not for me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    This was a hard read. So important and so genuine, but SO hard to read. Fuck. I'm going to be thinking about this for years to come. TW: rape, fatphobia This was a hard read. So important and so genuine, but SO hard to read. Fuck. I'm going to be thinking about this for years to come. TW: rape, fatphobia

  15. 4 out of 5

    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 profile in Elle gives a good overview. Thanks to the publisher for providing early access to the title through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. It quickly jumped to the top of my tbr pile!oil

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    In understated but moving prose, Roxane Gay reflects upon her life as a fat woman living in a misogynistic society that seeks to regiment and shame “unruly” bodies. The six-part book consists of eighty-eight short essays that alternate between autobiography, cultural criticism, and social analysis. The start of the memoir centers on Gay’s weight gain following her gang rape at age twelve by her boyfriend and his friends. The pain of this section is palpable, and the level of patience and sensiti In understated but moving prose, Roxane Gay reflects upon her life as a fat woman living in a misogynistic society that seeks to regiment and shame “unruly” bodies. The six-part book consists of eighty-eight short essays that alternate between autobiography, cultural criticism, and social analysis. The start of the memoir centers on Gay’s weight gain following her gang rape at age twelve by her boyfriend and his friends. The pain of this section is palpable, and the level of patience and sensitivity with which Gay approaches this period of her life is astounding. In the remainder of the book, Gay considers how her weight, race, and gender have affected the ways in which others have perceived and treated her as an adult, while she critiques American culture for having made “the desire for weight loss” a “default feature of womanhood.” A flawless memoir, full of insight and feeling; highly recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Adam Dalva

    I'm reviewing this for another venue, and there's a lot to say, but it is a memorable, often harrowing book that is more stylistically weird than I'd expected. It will stick with me. UPDATE: Review posted here! https://www.guernicamag.com/i-wish-i-... I'm reviewing this for another venue, and there's a lot to say, but it is a memorable, often harrowing book that is more stylistically weird than I'd expected. It will stick with me. UPDATE: Review posted here! https://www.guernicamag.com/i-wish-i-...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Roxane Gay is a National treasure. Hunger by Roxane Gay is raw, gritty, honest, heartbreaking, powerful, and beautiful. I can't say enough amazing things about Roxane Gay and her important words. Hunger explores the lasting effects trauma has had on Roxane's life. At 12 years old she was brutally gang raped by a boy she had a crush on and his friends. She kept this awful secret for thirty years, blaming herself as so many survivors of rape do. She gained weight in order to shield herself and mak Roxane Gay is a National treasure. Hunger by Roxane Gay is raw, gritty, honest, heartbreaking, powerful, and beautiful. I can't say enough amazing things about Roxane Gay and her important words. Hunger explores the lasting effects trauma has had on Roxane's life. At 12 years old she was brutally gang raped by a boy she had a crush on and his friends. She kept this awful secret for thirty years, blaming herself as so many survivors of rape do. She gained weight in order to shield herself and make herself unattractive to male desire. I was so angry reading this book, I wanted to (& still do) hunt down the assholes who raped her. I was so angry at the people who treated her like she was subhuman just because she's overweight. The things this woman has had to deal with are unimaginable. I don't know how she gets out of bed everyday. I don't know that I could if I were her, but she's a much stronger woman than I am. I don't know anybody who hasnt struggled with body image. Even the beautiful people sometimes feel fat and ugly. I think everyone should be able to relate to Roxane's struggle, even if you aren't morbidly obese like her. Roxane describes her body as being "unruly". I like that term, it perfectly describes how I feel about my body. I often feel like my body has a mind of its own and I beg it to please just do what I want it to. It rarely listens to me, because its unruly. I've been overweight for the vast majority of my life. I had my thin years( they were also my most unhappy years). For me food is love. My family shows it loves you through food. If you're sad, they feed you. If you're happy, they feed you. I'm a happy eater, I can't eat when I'm sad or unhappy. In the two weeks after my mother died I lost 10LBs. I could not ingest food at all. When I was my thinnest, my life was hell. I would go days without eating anything and when I did eat it was popcorn or cotton balls dipped in orange juice....but I looked great and everyone said so. The compliments just flowed. I felt like hell but looked like heaven. I had a socially acceptable look so people ignored my misery. Hunger spoke to me and reminded me of that person I thankfully overcame. I recommend everyone read this book. Its important and necessary. Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge: Book By or About a Person who has a disability.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    This is the memoir I will compare all other memoirs against. Roxane Gay has written one hell of a perfect book. If I hadn't been a fan before, I would for sure be one now. Not only is this an honest, unflinching look at herself and her life and her choices, it is also stylistically beautiful in a way most books (fiction or non-fiction) never achieve. Roxane Gay tells, quite literally, the story of her body. She is completely and brutally honest in her approach and does not mince her words when de This is the memoir I will compare all other memoirs against. Roxane Gay has written one hell of a perfect book. If I hadn't been a fan before, I would for sure be one now. Not only is this an honest, unflinching look at herself and her life and her choices, it is also stylistically beautiful in a way most books (fiction or non-fiction) never achieve. Roxane Gay tells, quite literally, the story of her body. She is completely and brutally honest in her approach and does not mince her words when describing the negative influence her "unruly" body has on her life and the way people treat her because of it. She describes being hypervisible and invisible at the same time; she shows the way she is treated as less than; she shows her own unhealthy fixation on something she knows does not define her worth as a person. I am impressed by her willingness to be open and vulnerable. I love the circular way in which she tells her tale, weaving expressions into her language again and again and thus stylistically showing her struggle and the way her thoughts move, around and around and around. Roxane Gay language is, as usual, beautiful, understated, and always perfect. It has been days since I finished this book and I am still in awe and still thinking about it. Her sentences reverberated with me and left me speechless. The way she tells her story is deeply personal while at the same time highly political and I adored that. She has an impressive way of connecting the personal facts of her life to the larger implications of society. There is a reason why she is one of the voices of my generation and one of my absolute personal heroes.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Jeffers

    Update: I had to share Roxane's interview on the Daily Show, because it's amazing. Holy shit, Roxane Gay has written one hell of a memoir. This book is powerful on about forty-seven different levels and I really think that it ought to be required reading for anyone interested in feminism and the body-positive movement. But also, just anyone who wants to read good writing because holy shit, Roxane Gay: How do you write like this?! It's kind of unfair. This book was originally announced as a 2016 Update: I had to share Roxane's interview on the Daily Show, because it's amazing. Holy shit, Roxane Gay has written one hell of a memoir. This book is powerful on about forty-seven different levels and I really think that it ought to be required reading for anyone interested in feminism and the body-positive movement. But also, just anyone who wants to read good writing because holy shit, Roxane Gay: How do you write like this?! It's kind of unfair. This book was originally announced as a 2016 summer release, but it got pushed back because she needed some more time to work on it. Within half an hour of starting this book, it's obvious why she needed that time. This is one of the most intensely personal things I've ever read and it's full of so much pain that was clearly never fully processed. Writing it must have been the most difficult thing in the world. With that in mind, reading this was not easy. It was sometimes so brutal that I had to set it down, and yet it was so engrossing that I still managed to read it in just over 24 hours. So here it is: Roxane Gay is a fat woman. At her heaviest, she weighed nearly 600 pounds. She’s smaller than that today, but she’s still a very large woman. She sometimes feels like that fact makes up her sole identity. Which is a shame because so many people love her intellect but also obvious because that's the world we live in and it can’t be an easy thing for her to navigate. I struggle with it, and I’m only 30 pounds(ish) heavier than I want to be. I feel like the fattest woman in the world some days, even though rationally I know I’m not. I don’t even need plus-size clothing, so I can’t imagine what it must be like when the numbers are exponentially larger. Even though Gay spends a lot of time probing the psychological barriers that have contributed to her weight gain, this book isn’t about “making excuses.” When she was 12, Gay was gang-raped by a group of boys and she didn’t tell anyone about it...for 30 years. She didn’t know how to ask for the help she needed, so she just kept it all in. The self-blame, the depression, the bullying and slut-shaming she received. The next year, she left home for boarding school and she discovered comfort in the form of food. Without any adults really keeping an eye on her, she began to gain weight. Her feelings of trauma and her need for comfort were so intense that her weight gain was rather dramatic. Her family was startled by the change, but didn’t know the psychological roots and so their response really just made her feel worse. She began to conflate her size and her individual self-worth, which really only intensified her depression and led her to seek yet more comfort in food. This is a powerful statement in favor of the body-positive movement, even if Gay doesn’t want it to be or doesn’t seem to think it needs to be. But here’s the thing: so many people are down on that movement because, “Well being fat isn’t healthy and accepting that someone is fat is bad for them. If we really wanted to help, we’d encourage them to lose that weight.” Gay skewers that point of view so well here, even if she doesn’t explicitly intend to. She knows she’s fat, she knows how she got there, and she harbors no illusions about it. She doesn’t want to be fat and she’s even taken some steps to lose some of the weight. But it’s hard to go to a gym and get exercise when you’re 400 pounds when the other people at the gym make you feel like shit because you’re 400 pounds. She doesn’t need fit people telling her that being fat is unhealthy and she should lose weight. It’s hard to break habits that you’ve held for decades, especially when your self-image is so tightly wound up with the way your body looks: you feel bad because of the weight, so you comfort yourself with food and gain more weight, then you feel even worse. And so much of our culture winds those things together so tightly. This bond is magnified when, like Gay, your initial weight gain is largely tied to mental health issues with other causes. There’s a lot of psychological layers to dig through, and maybe if our culture allowed people (women) to separate their feelings of value from their weight, it might actually help with both the value and the weight. Long story short: the “fat acceptance” movement, as it gets derisively called, isn’t about letting people be as fat and as unhealthy as they want. It’s about letting them feel good about themselves even though they are fat. Being fat shouldn't be the sole thing that makes up your identity. This is a hard, hard book to read because Gay goes into a lot of traumatic issues, particularly sexual assault. Tread carefully if you’re sensitive to those kinds of things. But there’s so much to think about in this book. It shines a new light on her previous work, it’s an unapologetic look at mental health and obesity and trauma and rape culture, and it’s one woman’s beautifully written account of a difficult life story. It's one of the best memoirs I've ever read and I can't recommend it enough.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    What to say about this book? How can one even review someone’s personal experiences and life? I can’t. But I’ll talk a bit what this memoir meant to me on a personal note (my reviews almost never had anything from my “rl”) and why I think it’s important. First, writing such a raw memoir requires courage. To lay yourself bare, to expose your secrets, your shameful thoughts transparently is brave. Roxanne Gay didn’t “beautify” her life. Didn’t hide and wasn’t superficial like some famous people whe What to say about this book? How can one even review someone’s personal experiences and life? I can’t. But I’ll talk a bit what this memoir meant to me on a personal note (my reviews almost never had anything from my “rl”) and why I think it’s important. First, writing such a raw memoir requires courage. To lay yourself bare, to expose your secrets, your shameful thoughts transparently is brave. Roxanne Gay didn’t “beautify” her life. Didn’t hide and wasn’t superficial like some famous people when writing their autobiographies. She told about it like it is. The good, the ugly, the embarrassing moments, the prideful ones… well, all I can say is I’m glad I finally read it. This book has been on my tbr list ever since it came out. I was hoping to read it (aka ebook/phys copy) but I am simply unable to read non-fiction for whatever reason. Eventually, I decided to listen to the audiobook. It's a combination of short chapters. I liked her style and Roxanne Gay is definitely a talented writer. I'm looking forward to reading Bad Feminist (which wasn't on my tbr before reading this book). Honestly.. weight loss.. didn’t we all struggle with our body image at one point or another? I’m not obese but I don’t have the “ideal” body that I want. I still feel nice when people say I’ve lost weight. But then feel guilty about it. Yet honestly, nowadays I feel tired of it. I'm caring less and less about those comments. Shouldn’t I be happy with my body just as it is? Shouldn’t I care less about people’s opinions? I certainly should but those “motivational speakers and influencers” who advocate for this and have Victoria's Secret model's bodies are full of bullshit. Or have at least thin bodies. I live in a society where people comment the most about two things: marriage and weight. I swear I’ve had people saying I gained weight when I’ve lost some and vice versa.. Apparently, their eyes have scales and from one look they can tell all about it. But the fact is: if you lose weight you’re becoming “prettier” and more “desirable in their eyes”. And hence prettiness is associated for me since birth with a skinny body. Even if I obviously disagree when it comes to other people, I still apply those standards to myself. I now see my old pictures when I was a teenager and think: did they seriously think that I was overweight? Society sucks. But I’m not confident at all because of my body image and yes I do think if I was thinner I’d be “more confident”, I wouldn’t want to hide in social gatherings with strange people. But for now, I want as little attention as possible. Gay was gang raped at 12. She resorted to food to make herself less desirable. She built a literal fortress around her body. Ever since, she has tried to gain weight and received lots of negative talk about it from her family and friends. Didn’t stop there. She hid this secret and didn’t tell anyone. Even thought she deserved it. It's her journey about accepting herself and growing more comfortable in her body. I hate myself. Or society tells me I am supposed to hate myself, so I guess this, at least, is something I am doing right. Or, I should say, I hate my body. I hate my weakness at being unable to control my body. I hate how I feel in my body. I hate how people see my body. I hate how people stare at my body, treat my body, comment on my body. I hate equating my self-worth with the state of my body and how difficult it is to overcome this equation. I hate how hard it is to accept my human frailties. I hate that I am letting down so many women when I cannot embrace my body at any size. But I also like myself, my personality, my weirdness, my sense of humor, my wild and deep romantic streak, how I love, how I write, my kindness and my mean streak. It is only now, in my forties, that I am able to admit that I like myself, even though I am nagged by this suspicion that I shouldn’t. For so long, I gave in to my self-loathing. I refused to allow myself the simple pleasure of accepting who I am and how I live and love and think and see the world. But then, I got older and I cared less about what other people think. I got older and realized I was exhausted by all my self-loathing and that I was hating myself, in part, because I assumed that’s what other people expected from me, as if my self-hatred was the price I needed to pay for living in an overweight body. [...] I don’t want to change who I am. I want to change how I look. On my better days, when I feel up to the fight, I want to change how this world responds to how I look because intellectually I know my body is not the real problem. On bad days, though, I forget how to separate my personality, the heart of who I am, from my body. I forget how to shield myself from the cruelties of the world. This is a passage that I had to highlight reading this book because it hit home. I have only shared only a small portion of what she went through -and it wasn’t easy. I can only imagine all the stares she had to endure, the whispering, the criticism, and how much it hurt. Like Roxanne, I love food. I also think working out is wasting time (I’d rather read and no, listening to audiobooks at the gym isn’t as good as one might think). But I also know it’s necessary for my health. I recommend this book to everyone. It’s good to see the world from other real people’s experiences and that's why I like to read non-fiction from time to time. It made me feel that I'm not alone. That if Gay is accepting herself, I certainly can too. Something I didn’t like is her view of doctors, she made them look bad but they aren’t. Obesity is unhealthy especially if one isn’t working out. Also, the book got repetitive in some instances.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    “This is a memoir of my body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not." Hunger is about Roxane Gay's relationship with food and her body, why the relationship is the way it is, and how it affects the rest of her life. For me this was a case of a book putting you in someone else's shoes. Ms Gay writes about some details of every day “This is a memoir of my body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not." Hunger is about Roxane Gay's relationship with food and her body, why the relationship is the way it is, and how it affects the rest of her life. For me this was a case of a book putting you in someone else's shoes. Ms Gay writes about some details of every day life that I have never considered from my perspective, so I learned a lot and was thoroughly captivated by her whole story. There are some very dark and heartbreaking things in this powerful memoir. Ms Gay covers topics including: consumption, desire, satisfaction, physicality, femininity, health, anxiety, sexual abuse, trauma, and body image. Like always, everything Roxane Gay does is an instant hit with me. I love that her emotions and attitudes about certain things really shine through. She writes with beauty and candour about some very important, very difficult topics. Highly Recommend 👌🏻

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Roxane Gay, thank you. Unflinching honesty, ugly and beautiful truth. Reading Roxane Gay's memoir Hunger is at once a difficult, intimate endeavor, but the sheer power of Gay's blunt, unsparingly honest prose made this a single sitting read for me, gobsmacked by her willingness to reveal the depths of her pain, her rage, her hope, her insecurities, her jealousy, and her hunger for so many things in this world, some attainable and some tantalizingly out of reach due to physical, cultural, societal Roxane Gay, thank you. Unflinching honesty, ugly and beautiful truth. Reading Roxane Gay's memoir Hunger is at once a difficult, intimate endeavor, but the sheer power of Gay's blunt, unsparingly honest prose made this a single sitting read for me, gobsmacked by her willingness to reveal the depths of her pain, her rage, her hope, her insecurities, her jealousy, and her hunger for so many things in this world, some attainable and some tantalizingly out of reach due to physical, cultural, societal, or self imposed limitations. This is a memoir of Gay's body, but she does in his memoir what she asks, begs, demands, fears, hungers for: the reader must see her body, indeed through her eyes we for a moment can feel what it is to inhabit her body, but the reader is also confronted with the nuance and complexity and intelligence and whirlwind of thoughts and desires and emotions that Gay is just as much as her body, and that too often has been stripped away from her in terms of how modern American culture views a woman of size. And as specific as it is, this immersal into the mind and heart and body of Gay, there is so much here that resonates and reverberates loudly, into the collective experience, the female experience, the black experience. There is so much at work here: rape, trauma, alienation, sexuality, familial relationships, the myriad sides and natures of America and how its people deny and demean (but also embrace and love). And perhaps I may have more in common with Gay than the average reader or even if I don't, perceive a closer kinship - biracial, 5' 10", boarding school kid, in my adult years always tending heavier than I'd (and my family) would like me to be and the requisite concern and veneration of thinness=happiness that comes with that. Gay's ability to probe into the parts of herself she keeps hidden or submerged and bring that multitude of passion and feeling to the surface is incredibly moving, and at least for me, I was able to revel in and admire her honesty while also being forced to consider my own (or lack of it), truths about my complicity in terms of being part of a culture that simultaneously erases fat people but also can't help but accost them and reduce them to sheer mass and BMI and numbers on a scale, truths about how I often elevate the needs and desires of others far above those of my own and deny myself the power and importance of my hunger. I'm not a usually a memoir reader, but the ones I love best achieve this fantastic union of individual and universal. On the side of the individual story, there is specificity and intimacy and honesty; on he side of the universal, there is application for a new way of evaluating the world around you, a new way of understanding, a new perspective to consider. Gay's Hunger did all of those things, but for me struck personally, I felt how she felt and also felt my own feelings, I watched her rage and grieve and fear and felt my own rage and grief and fear. And the power of her honesty in writing this book has at least given me some courage or strength to be honest in my review of her work, even if I cannot yet be as honest about myself. I'm just a girl on Goodreads, and I'm nowhere near as willing to be publicly honest as Gay, but in reading Hunger I couldn't help but be bowled over, experiencing her story and her life, watching her contextualize her experience and evaluate where all of us stand in being complicit with the inequities and indignities of the society we're all part of, letting Gay's sharp, blunt truth penetrate parts of myself I don't surface and force or prompt self-examination. I think Hunger will appeal widely, hitting for fans of Gay's previous work and for those memoir type readers who are ok with an uncomfortable, challenging, honest experience getting into the skin and mind and heart of someone else. For me, this will be one of the most powerful and transformative and necessary reads of 2017. 5 stars, given with a lump in the throat and watery eyes and feeling both full and drained after reading and processing and reviewing. -received an ARC on edelweiss thanks to Harper Collins

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aya

    “This is a memoir of (my) body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not.” *Listened to the audiobook, read by Roxane Gay herself. TRIGGER WARNING: Rape and eating disorders. 2.5 stars. I was hesitant to write this review, because everyone loved this book, and I thought I would.. but I didn't like it as much! Parts of this book made me “This is a memoir of (my) body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not.” *Listened to the audiobook, read by Roxane Gay herself. TRIGGER WARNING: Rape and eating disorders. 2.5 stars. I was hesitant to write this review, because everyone loved this book, and I thought I would.. but I didn't like it as much! Parts of this book made me angry. First, I have to admit that this was brave of Gay to write this memoir. She is an amazing storyteller. The book was raw and honest. She didn't sugarcoat things. This is not a positive book, because she is still not happy. She is still struggling. She is not happy with her body, and she is not happy with the world that makes her feel that. However.. I have two issues with this book.. 1- You can feel her anger through out the book. And that's totally okay. But sometimes, it felt whiny specially toward medicine and doctors! I understand how feeling uncomfortable in your body because of people is awful and frustrating. But complaining about "doctors telling patients to lose weight because they are morbidly obese" is something I can't agree with. I tried to ignore these parts, I told myself she has every right to be angry and say these things out of anger, but going further into the book, I couldn't ignore them anymore! Multiple times, these parts made me feel that all of the things I've learnt and still learning in medical school are trash. And I am telling you, that's awful to feel that way because of a book. I came to realize that she still doesn't understand that doctors offering weight loss as a part of treatment is for their health, not because they hate fat people! If you are healthy and fat, that's amazing. And many people do! But if you have some health issues, a change in diet and losing some weight only can be more than enough as a treatment! I stand by doctor in this point and I can't agree with what she was trying to convince me! She has an unhealthy relationship with food, and she never discusses that. 2- I hated the parts where she talked about other girls going to the gym even though they are thinner than her, and she needed the gym more than them! They choose to go to the gym because they want to stay healthy. It doesn't matter how much you weigh! It is frustrating to listen to her and how angry she is about how the world sees her, and on the other hand, start judging people for what they do! I understand that part of her thoughts is because of rape and that victims of rape don't feel comfortable or connected to their bodies, and it needs a long time to be comfortable in their bodies again. So, I think this wasn't the right time for her to write this memoir. Enough rambling. Overall, The parts I liked in this book, I really liked. And the parts I hated in this book, I really hated. I am giving it an average rating. And I still encourage you to read it because it is important and powerful, even if I didn't love it myself.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Kersten

    Roxane Gay' s depiction of her long term struggle with food as an expression of inner dysfunction amd trauma is probably one of the most viscerally, uncomfortably familiar things I've read about in a long time. I don't think I've ever come across an author who is as forthright and articulate as Gay in her discussion of punishing and protecting the body through the abuse of food. Before I read this I was somewhat proud of myself for the things that I've written about my own mental health struggle Roxane Gay' s depiction of her long term struggle with food as an expression of inner dysfunction amd trauma is probably one of the most viscerally, uncomfortably familiar things I've read about in a long time. I don't think I've ever come across an author who is as forthright and articulate as Gay in her discussion of punishing and protecting the body through the abuse of food. Before I read this I was somewhat proud of myself for the things that I've written about my own mental health struggles, especially my experiences with anorexia, but after reading Hunger I realize that there are so many truths that I've shied away from and obfuscated. I absolutely agree with Gay that the act of living through trauma and mental health struggles is not a matter of willpower and strength but a matter of survival. It's some Silver Linings, Lemonade from Lemons bullshit to look at someone's acute suffering and say "Oh, but look at how you've GROWN from this." That being said, I have so much respect for Gay's craft and deep vulnerability in depicting that survival in its truth and chaos. This book also forced me to consider the privileges that my body bestows on me through the fact of its conformity to societal expectations. I might, and do, experience agonizing self-consciousness and body hatred for the majority of my conscious hours, but the fact of the matter is that no matter how much I hate my body there are certain ways that it will never be treated and punished by the outside world for being, as Gay puts it, unruly. I'm far along enough in recovery to realize this, and to know that this is something I need to continually re-evaluate and work on. This book was extremely painful and uncomfortable to read in many ways, but there are few books I can think of that I have been gladder to have read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    This is riveting. Roxane Gay is a wonderful writer. She bares her soul in this memoir, which is raw and painful. I am fat and I have never read anything so honest about it in my life. She struggles with accepting herself as she is, as I do. The honesty and integrity she shows is breathtaking. I remember when my sister berated me during a long, long car trip from Louisville, Kentucky to Chicago about losing weight. She did it in front of my other sister and brother-in-law. They said nothing, but This is riveting. Roxane Gay is a wonderful writer. She bares her soul in this memoir, which is raw and painful. I am fat and I have never read anything so honest about it in my life. She struggles with accepting herself as she is, as I do. The honesty and integrity she shows is breathtaking. I remember when my sister berated me during a long, long car trip from Louisville, Kentucky to Chicago about losing weight. She did it in front of my other sister and brother-in-law. They said nothing, but it was humiliating for me on so many levels. It was like an excruciating intervention.I was so enraged, but I could go nowhere I was trapped in the car for the "why don't you lose weight seminar". This memoir brought it all back. I haven't lost weight, but I now work at a job in which I am forced to walk a lot, so I am much healthier and I accept myself as I am now pretty much all the time. If you have similar struggles or if you don't, this book will make you empathize with those of us who can't hide our problem, it's there for everyone to see.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    "Something Terrible Happened"Whew! Roxane Gay gives it up and lays it all out there baring body and soul to the world in HUNGER.She writes about the unspeakable horror that broke her young body and mind at age 12 and reveals the struggles of a 400+ weight challenged woman in our society....the limitations....the stares....the shame....and the constant battle of trying to lose hundreds of pounds.She also reveals facts about health issues, personal relationships and difficulty in purchasing clothe "Something Terrible Happened"Whew! Roxane Gay gives it up and lays it all out there baring body and soul to the world in HUNGER.She writes about the unspeakable horror that broke her young body and mind at age 12 and reveals the struggles of a 400+ weight challenged woman in our society....the limitations....the stares....the shame....and the constant battle of trying to lose hundreds of pounds.She also reveals facts about health issues, personal relationships and difficulty in purchasing clothes beyond the sizes offered by even a Lane Bryant....and then....there's always those horrific haunted memories of what she endured.Roxane Gay is a talented writer with a loving, supportive family. She often writes about sexual violence as in AN UNTAMED STATE....my first experience reading Gay's work....an excellent read; and now I understand why she chooses such disturbing subjects.As for HUNGER, while somewhat redundant in the telling, it is a very brave and emotionally raw offering that "demands to be told and deserves to be heard." It is about recognition of those who don't fit the mold and acceptance of same. It is about coming to terms with her ordeal.Gay writes, "Mine is not a success story. Mine is simply a true story." One final note: I do hope HE and HIS cohorts read this powerful story and have the backbone (not the word I wanted to use) to finally come forward and apologize for their despicable actions. Perhaps that would ease Ms. Gay's struggle.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    Written in six parts and 88 chapters that read like vignettes, Hunger is not a conventional memoir. The book’s subtitle, “A Memoir of (My) Body,” conveys the real subject. After being gang-raped in a cabin in the woods when she was only twelve, Gay turned to food because her body “Needed to be a safe harbor rather than a small, weak vessel that betrayed me.” Gay shares her observations about being a woman of a size in a world that is not built for, or has any tolerance of, large bodies. Hunger g Written in six parts and 88 chapters that read like vignettes, Hunger is not a conventional memoir. The book’s subtitle, “A Memoir of (My) Body,” conveys the real subject. After being gang-raped in a cabin in the woods when she was only twelve, Gay turned to food because her body “Needed to be a safe harbor rather than a small, weak vessel that betrayed me.” Gay shares her observations about being a woman of a size in a world that is not built for, or has any tolerance of, large bodies. Hunger gave me not only empathy, but the courage to interrogate my own prejudices and the ways I have been conditioned by society to view weight loss and body types. It’s the best kind of memoir, and will surely linger for a long time after. — Matt Grant from The Best Books We Read In June 2017: https://bookriot.com/2017/07/03/riot-... ____________________ I was drawn in by Bad Feminist, an essay collection that validated so much of what I was feeling about myself. I read and loved An Untamed State next, and it was beautiful and brutal. When I read that Gay was writing something about her difficult relationship with her body, my immediate reaction was I AM SO THERE FOR THAT, because my relationship with my body is also difficult. When the pub date was pushed back, I felt as if the anticipation was unbearable. The wait was worth it. Within the first page of this egalley, I knew this was a book I would have to own when it officially pubbed. Almost like prose poetry, Gay opens herself up in a way she never has before, splaying herself open on the page as she tackles issues of the body and sexual violence and self-worth. This is a book I know I will return to again and again, like self-affirmation. Like prayer. — Steph Auteri from The Best Books We Read In April 2017: http://bookriot.com/2017/05/01/riot-r...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    1.5 ★ I have extremely mixed feelings about this book. It was difficult to get through--not because of the subject matter--but because it was contradictive, circular, and frankly I do not find Gay to be a very talented writer. On the other hand, she put her intensely painful, personal story out there for people to read, relate to, and judge; that is something you can't deny takes tremendous courage. However, the way it was written–for example writing around the truth instead of just saying whatev 1.5 ★ I have extremely mixed feelings about this book. It was difficult to get through--not because of the subject matter--but because it was contradictive, circular, and frankly I do not find Gay to be a very talented writer. On the other hand, she put her intensely painful, personal story out there for people to read, relate to, and judge; that is something you can't deny takes tremendous courage. However, the way it was written–for example writing around the truth instead of just saying whatever it was that she wanted to say– was incredibly annoying, and for the entirety of the read I felt like she was not quite ready to write this book. It also read like a teenager wrote it. Comically, it was as if she realized this because, in one chapter, she would remind you that she is not in her twenties anymore; she is still indeed fat, but she is not as big of a mess anymore. Around and around we went through the same self-told narrative. She ate to protect herself, now she is living in a world that will not accommodate her body, she hates herself much of the time and blames the world for it sometimes (and herself at other times), she tries to do better, but when she loses some weight she feels the protection her large body gives her slip away. This book was all over the place and that is what bothered me. Sometimes she blamed doctors and society for the way the world treats fat people. Sometimes she blamed herself. Sometimes she stuck to the same 30-year story she has been telling herself that she eats to build a fortress around herself. I get it, life and bodies are confusing; it is not black and white. Again, it felt like she was nowhere near ready to write this memoir. When I say that, I mean it was if she didn't know how she feels about the theme of her own book. If she doesn't know, how is the reader supposed to know? Please don't take this to mean I think she should have all her ducks in a line before writing her memoir. Her memoir does not need to be a success story, but I think it should at least be something more than a confusing sample of blog entries thrown together and called a memoir. Lastly, the writing style. Did her editor just take random entries off her blog and work them into chapters and call it a memoir? The structure of the book was terrible. It was repetitive. She dodged around the truth as if that made the book more interesting; it didn't. It made it seem like a child was writing it. I understand there was a lot of trauma she put into this book, but if she was not ready to write about it in a clear way, she should not have attempted to flesh it out in a memoir. It was hard to write a review of this book that could accurately sum up my feelings toward this book because when I think about it I just feel generally annoyed. I know I am in the minority on this one.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    It does not happen very often that you read a memoir that makes you rethink what memoir is for and what it can do, but when it does it is a very special experience. HUNGER is that kind of memoir. Gay wants her readers to understand not just who she is and what her experience in the world has been. She wants them to know what it is like to exist in her body. I am a woman, so of course my experience thinking about my body and what others see and how I am treated because of it is going to be signif It does not happen very often that you read a memoir that makes you rethink what memoir is for and what it can do, but when it does it is a very special experience. HUNGER is that kind of memoir. Gay wants her readers to understand not just who she is and what her experience in the world has been. She wants them to know what it is like to exist in her body. I am a woman, so of course my experience thinking about my body and what others see and how I am treated because of it is going to be significantly different than a man's. But I am also a woman with a body that society would deem relatively normal. I have considered but never truly understood what it would be like to be in a body that was deemed unacceptable. I see it as my job to tell you what the experience of reading this book is like, just as Gay's job is to give you the experience of living in her body. And I have struggled for days to figure out how to express it. If you regularly read Gay's writing and follow her on Twitter, you will find her voice here familiar. But her writing here feels very different than her fiction and her essays. There is still that sharpness, that ability to define something with precision in a way it has never been defined before that I always appreciate. But there is also a bluntness and straightforwardness. It feels like a direct line from the reader to her brain. These chapters are often short, often lacking a narrative. I suspect some readers may find it repetitive, and yet when you are stuck in denial or self-destruction or depression or other difficult emotions your life is repetitive and Gay captures that. When reading DIFFICULT WOMEN I wrote that I felt seen in ways I'd never felt from a book before. With HUNGER I feel like I have seen someone else in a way I never have from a book before. I hesitate to say much more than that because I feel like there is no point. I am not a good enough writer to fully describe how it is to read this book. I read it obsessively. I went to a bar and ordered a beer and sat down with this book and read it and sometimes looked up and took a break and listened to people. Then I ordered another beer and read and took little breaks. I could not stop until I was finished. I could not go to sleep until it was done. It did not matter if I cried in a bar, it was simply how the world was and I was simply living in it.

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