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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body Hardcover – June 13, 2017
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An Amazon Best Book of June 2017: If you’re a woman in America, chances are, no matter your size, you probably have a somewhat fetishistic relationship with food. We obsess over having too much, too little (to a lesser degree); we use terms like stealing a bite and guilty pleasure--things that evoke shame, and are meant to keep our bodies in line. For those that fit that (ever narrowing) bill, congratulations! Clothes are designed to fit you, kale growers love you, and so does society. You bask in its glow. The rest risk being in shadow, which is exactly where Roxane Gay wanted to be. In her brutally honest and brave memoir Hunger, Gay recounts a childhood sexual assault that led her to purposely gain weight in order to be unseen and therefore “safe.” Gay warns at the beginning of the book that if you’re looking for a triumphant weight loss memoir, this is not it. But Hunger is a triumph nonetheless. It’s a story not easily told, but the telling set her free. And through Gay’s experience we learn one of lessons she eventually did, that “all of us have to be more considerate of the realities of the bodies of others,” and more accepting of our own. --Erin Kodicek, The Amazon Book Review
“A work of staggering honesty . . . . Poignantly told.” (New Republic)
“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)
“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.” (Associated Press)
“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)
“It is a deeply honest witness, often heartbreaking, and always breathtaking. . . . Gay is one of our most vital essayists and critics.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“Searing.” (Miami Herald)
“This raw and graceful memoir digs deeply into what it means to be comfortable in one’s body. Gay denies that hers is a story of “triumph,” but readers will be hard pressed to find a better word.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“A heart-rending debut memoir from the outspoken feminist and essayist. . . . An intense, unsparingly honest portrait of childhood crisis and its enduring aftermath.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Displays bravery, resilience, and naked honesty from the first to last page. . . . Stunning . . . essential reading.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“A work of exceptional courage by a writer of exceptional talent.” (Shelf Awareness (starred review))
Praise for Bad Feminist:“A strikingly fresh cultural critic.” (Ron Charles, Washington Post)
“Roxane Gay is the brilliant girl-next-door: your best friend and your sharpest critic. . . . She is by turns provocative, chilling, hilarious; she is also required reading.” (People)
“[Gay is] hilarious. But she also confronts more difficult issues of race, sexual assault, body image, and the immigrant experience. She makes herself vulnerable and it’s refreshing.” (Tanvi Misra, Atlantic, "The Best Book I Read This Year")
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"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!
While Hunger is structured as a book of meditations, and essays, it gets very, very repetitive. Yes, Roxane Gay was brutally raped as a child. This traumatic event caused her to eat, trying to pack on the pounds to make herself feel safe. I get it. The problem is, she mentions the rape a handful of times in the beginning, and then never again.
For the most part, every chapter is about being overweight. How difficult it is to live as someone who is considered morbidly obese - particularly when they don't like diets, and prefer not to exercise. Add on to the fact that she casually mentions obesity doesn't have an impact on a person's health and things get frustrating. I get that she's Hungry for more, I do. But you never find out what more means in the book. Instead, it's just chapter after chapter of her being frustrated with herself for being overweight.
Personally, I think this book could have used a better editor. Cut out some of the repetition, tighten up the essays where you can. It could very easily have been done, and would have made Hunger out to be a much, much stronger book. I hate to give it such a low rating, but I have to. It was such a frustrating book to get through, and could have been laid out much, much better.