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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body Hardcover – June 13, 2017
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“The book’s short, sharp chapters come alive in vivid personal anecdotes. . . . And on nearly every page, Gay’s raw, powerful prose plants a flag, facing down decades of shame and self-loathing by reclaiming the body she never should have had to lose.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Bracingly vivid. . . . Remarkable. . . . Undestroyed, unruly, unfettered, Ms. Gay, live your life. We are all better for having you do so in the same ferociously honest fashion that you have written this book.” (Los Angeles Times)
“Searing, smart, readable. . . . “Hunger,” like Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me,” interrogates the fortunes of black bodies in public spaces. . . . Nothing seems gratuitous; a lot seems brave. There is an incantatory element of repetition to “Hunger”: The very short chapters scallop over the reader like waves.” (Newsday)
“Luminous. . . . intellectually rigorous and deeply moving.” (The New York Times Book Review)
“Her spare prose, written with a raw grace, heightens the emotional resonance of her story, making each observation sharper, each revelation more riveting. . . . It is a thing of raw beauty.” (USA Today)
“Powerful. . . . fierce. . . . Gay has a vivid, telegraphic writing style, which serves her well. Repetitive and recursive, it propels the reader forward with unstoppable force.” (Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers)
“This is the book to read this summer . . . she’s such a compelling mind . . . . Anyone who has a body should read this book.” (Isaac Fitzgerald on the Today show)
“Hunger is Gay at her most lacerating and probing. . . . Anyone familiar with
Gay’s books or tweets knows she also wields a dagger-sharp wit.”
“Wrenching, deeply moving. . . a memoir that’s so brave, so raw, it feels as if [Gay]’s entrusting you with her soul.” (Seattle Times)
- Lexile Measure : 980L
- Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062362593
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062362599
- Product Dimensions : 0.72 x 5.31 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Harper; 1st Edition (June 13, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #198,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is a troubling book to read. It's full of angst. The short chapters feel as if each could be a confessional on a shrink's couch. The author shares her innermost wants, needs, feelings. It is so revealing that the reader feels as if they are intruding. The courage it took to write the book is evident. But, what's not so evident but clear is how much the author had to go deep within herself to really understand who she was. I'm assuming she did that alone and not in therapy. She doesn't mention being in therapy (except some counseling when she was in high school).
Given all the revelations in the book, the reader begins to search his or her own soul. In doing that, we might ask ourselves, do we really see others? Do we assume by what we see in other people's appearance (bodies), they are a certain way without knowing that person. Are we subconsciously critical of people who are fat (anorexic, old, handicapped--my additions)?
Ms. Gay helps the reader understand the difficulty she has doing very normal things, like going out to dinner with friends, going to the doctor, using a public restroom, flying in an airplane, sitting behind the steering wheel of a car, going to a movie or the theatre. The list is endless. I can add others: Serving on jury duty, walking on a sidewalk, sitting on a park bench. Those of us in normal-sized bodies take all these things for granted. After having read Hunger, I will never take these things for granted again.
Hunger is a tough read. My hope is the process of writing it helped Ms. Gay deal with her own deep-seated, long-standing traumas. In the meantime, I will never look at an overweight person in the same way. That much I gained from this book.
The book is not a slow read. The chapters are quickly devoured. The sentences short with much repetition. The emotion high.
"My warmth was hidden far from anything that could bring hurt because I knew I didn't have the inner scaffolding to endure anymore hurt in those protected places."
"Do my boundaries exist if I don't voice them?"
"The thing about shame is that there are no depths. I have no idea where the bottom of my shame resides."
"There is a price to be paid for visibility and there is even more of a price to be paid when you are hypervisible."
Make sure when you get a copy that you have time to read it through because you will not want to do anything else! LOVE LOVE Roxane Gay! This is her most powerful work to date!
I'm disappointed that a self-proclaimed feminist chooses to risk the safety of others for her own personal satisfaction. Rape is not a game, but she sure as hell treats it like one. She even muses if he's raped other little girls, but her curiosity is uncaring and crass. This book is about herself, with no traces of empathy or compassion. I found her bland as a writer and disgusting as a human.
The short paragraphs do not always make the book easier to read but they offer a chance to reflect on the sad truth that the body is what matters. I cannot recommend this book to eternal optimists for there isn't a neatly wrapped bow at the end. There is, however, truth, which is by far a greater gift.
Top reviews from other countries
Then after she wrote her book ‘Bad Feminism’ there was a photo-shoot for the book promotion. Staring at her full-length body shot she realized that that was her. That was what she looked like. That was the beginning of her coming to peace with herself and the world.
This book is not a sop story. It is not a story that ‘demands to be told and deserves to be read’. It will be impossible not to like RG when one has read the last line of the book and feel with her, sharing her jubilation, enjoying her freedom. It is a book that everyone who is in a cage should read – and who is not in a cage?
The book details her struggles with her body. After a terrifying experience as a teenager she ate as a form of protection which resulted in a lifelong battle with obesity. Her weight remains a powerful identifier.
In the book RG is incredibly honest - I actually struggled to believe that someone was brave enough to say everything she does. Almost everyone struggles with weight at some point and to some degree or another, this means that there will be something in this book that will be familiar. Her reactions and weight issues are more extreme than most people's but she writes in such a frank manner that there is no opportunity (or desire) to judge her choices.
Admittedly this goes against some of the morals of the book but I loved the cover of the edition I read (end of a fork), although it took me a while to work it out!!
I try very hard to be non judgmental and think I can often empathise with people who are different from me, however I found reading this book quite hard. RG made me analyse my attitude to people who are overweight. I came away from this book vowing to work harder on my approach to other people and will also try to influence how others see fat people. I genuinely had no idea how hard it is to do the most simple of tasks (sit on a chair in a restaurant, walk through a door and many others).
This is a difficult read and is uncomfortable but it is meant to be - that reaction is the only way to acknowledge some understanding of the author.