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Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves Hardcover – September 8, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A riveting read." -- Nigella Lawson

"An eye-opening tale for all women, Hungry explores the difference between the fantasy that society projects and the reality of what makes us happy. Crystal Renn's experience debunks the modern-day Cinderella story of the fat girl who loses weight to get happy. This is a new fairy tale, one in which a young woman embraces the size she's supposed to be and the world opens up for her." -- Lori Gottlieb, author of Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self

"Crystal Renn is a high-spirited, convincing spokesperson for broadening our notions of beauty. Hungry adds a unique twist to a growing women's chorus: even if you are young and beautiful, as Renn is, it's best to give up the addiction to slimness for the sake of personal authenticity, social relations, intimacy, and sexual pleasure." -- Joan Jacobs Brumberg, author of The Body Project and Fasting Girls

"Hungry offers an intelligent and intimate look inside the modeling industry and into Crystal Renn's heart. Renn's epiphany -- that she didn't have to be a size 0 to find success and happiness -- serves as a more powerful portrait of strength and beauty than anything a camera could capture." -- Wendy Shanker, author of The Fat Girl's Guide to Life --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Crystal Renn is the leading plus-size model in America. At twenty-two years of age, she has appeared in four international editions of Vogue; starred in a Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign; served as the final model in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s Spring pret-a-porter show in a diaphanous, flower-strewn gown that Gaultier designed specifically for her curvaceous figure; was the cover girl on an international edition of Harper's Bazaar; appeared on The Tyra Banks Show, The View and The Oprah Winfrey Show; and has been photographed by Steven Meisel, Ellen von Unwerth, Steven Meisel, Ruven Afanador and Patrick Demarchelier. Renn lives in Brooklyn.

Marjorie Ingall is a contributing writer at Self magazine and a columnist for The Forward. She has written for many other magazines, including The New York Times, Glamour, Redbook, Seventeen, Ms., Food & Wine, Wired, and the late, lamented Sassy, where she was the senior writer and health editor. At Sassy, she won several awards for health and social issues coverage. She is the author of The Field Guild to North American Males, the co-author of a sex-ed book for teenagers, Smart Sex and a former writer/producer at the Oxygen TV network.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143910123X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439101230
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,351,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The story of a rise and fall and rise of a twenty-two-year old American model could've been lame in so, so many ways. I mean, what does someone this young have to say? A lot, actually. Hungry is gripping and wise and funny and thoughtful and provocative and also, I felt like I was getting a far truer glimpse of the fashion industry than I ever get from fare like America's Top Model, The Devil Wears Prada, and even Project Runway. It wasn't always such a nice glimpse, either. The ingrained bias (ahem, hatred) of not just large but regular-sized bodies was pretty chilling, and reading this book, it's hard to tell whether that bias flows from fashion to mainstream culture or back or whether it's one anorexic twisted cycle. But, it's a book with a happy ending. Cream rises to the top. So, it turns out, does beauty. When Crystal decides to commit that revolutionary act and eat lunch (a healthy lunch, a salad with fish!) and let her body grow to its natural size, her body blooms, and her career takes off. You'll be cheering as you read her funny, smartly self aware account of her amazing (so far) career and life.
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Format: Hardcover
I walked by this book at Borders, and immediately felt drawn to it. I picked it up, sat on the floor, and did not move until I finished the whole thing. This young lady has so much wisdom to offer. It was so amazing to read her journey to becoming the confident, self-assured woman she is now. I'm willing to bet that everyone out there has, at one time or another, tried to ram their square-pegged self into a round hole... and it is so overwhelmingly gratifying to read the story of someone who came out the other end of that to live their dreams. What could be more inspirational?? I mean, who hasn't said, "Oh, if only I work hard enough, then I'll be good enough"? Crystal demonstrates that we are good enough as we are.. and once we realize that and embrace it, magic starts to happen. I believe that's the message of this book. I felt like I was walking on air after I left the bookstore. On my way home, I went and bought myself a bouquet of beautiful flowers :-)
7 Comments 41 of 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
when it comes to the writing itself, be it the editor or the author's writing prowess -- the book is much better written than a lot of junk out there.
a woman's struggle with self-acceptance, with bending one's mind around a senseless goal, preoccupation with self-mutilation and punishment, coming to terms and being comfortable in one's own skin, living for the sake of life and being happy -- it's all there.

too bad none of it holds up as true any longer, since as of April 2012 Crystal is a size 4, weighs something along the lines of 125 lbs, has that space between her thighs -- the golden triangle of modeling -- back, and insists she owes it all to yoga and hiking, as well as healthy eating.

as a struggling anorexic i call BS on that, and hope Ms Renn realizes she, too, succumbed to the behemoth machine of fashion and celebrity industry, which gobbles up minds and bodies of women worldwide.

so i give it two stars -- it would've been five, if Ms Renn actually lived the life she preached about.
1 Comment 21 of 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Wow. I couldn't put this down. I never tried to be a model, but had a serious eating disorder when I was in high school (30 years ago!), and Renn's book brought it all back to me. It's very well-written and moves along at a good clip, without a lot of padding. I actually would have given it 4.5 stars if I could, because of two things: 1) There could have been more pictures. Crystal talks at length about many shoots for Vogue, etc. without including any photo, and I was dying to know what they looked like. (Maybe it was a copyright issue?)
2) Her newfound self-esteem sometimes gets a little over-the-top near the end ("I'm so sexy, I'm so hot," etc.).
But on the whole, I really recommend this. She actually doesn't slam the fashion industry as hard as I thought she would -- in fact, she acknowledges that sometimes people told her she was too thin -- and she mostly blames herself for nearly starving to death.
I saw her on one of the morning TV shows and she came across as quite smart as well as gorgeous. Way to go, Crystal!
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Format: Hardcover
I think some people are missing the point of the book. The book is not to say that it is "OK" to be obese, and she is not endorsing weight gain. The message is to feel comfortable with who you are/who you are supposed to be. She tried to make herself something she wasn't by starving herself. Once she realized she was killing herself, emotionally and physically, she turned her life around and came to a point where she was herself, comfortable and happy. Crystal is a 12/14, which is average in America, yes. And sure, if she gained weight and were to be a size 16 she still wouldn't be obese, but she's not claiming that she suffers from obesity, nor is she claiming that she would be if she were to gain a little more weight. The moral of this story is to show women that beauty radiates from loving yourself and in order to love yourself you must feel comfortable and confident. For women, that starts with your body.

I adore this book 110%!
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By Tina on September 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I suffer from an eating disorder and I have read a ton of books on the subject and I have to say that although I have found most of them to be extremely inspiring, this one has touched me alot and for entirely different reasons.

Firstly, I admire Renn for writing this book. Her journey has been amazing, especially since she is so young. Which brings me to my one "beef" with the book - Renn is extremely young when she experiences alot of what she went through. Although I realize that eating disorders are a huge issue with girls in Renn's age bracket, it was a little harder for me to identify with her - since I am old enough to be her mother.

The other thing that was a bit off for me is Renn's entire experience with her eating disorder. Firstly, it was incredibly short lived, secondly, Renn was very conscious of it, very early on in her life and thirdly, while it can be "managed" it is never really gone and, the tone of the book often implies that "poof, it has all magically disappeared". These were the things that "got" me about the book.

Now, for the good stuff - Renn is a wonderful storyteller. She describes her experiences very honestly, without malice, all the while remembering to be thankful for the people in her life that she does have. Even when she is telling a hard story, she manages to find a silver lining somewhere and I loved this about the story. Secondly, Renn puts a very clear face on what it truly is to be in the modeling world and I think this book should be a "must read" for all those young models who are just dying to be thin. Thirdly, I love, love, love the way Renn discovers (and then encourages) everyone to find their "true body weight" and then, to EMBRACE IT!

This is the part of the book that actually made me cry.
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