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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)
“Powerful. . . . fierce. . . . Gay has a vivid, telegraphic writing style, which serves her well. Repetitive and recursive, it propels the reader forward with unstoppable force.” (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)
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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!
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.
At a pivotal age, the author suffers a trauma that by every measure is horrific and live changing. Her rage is more than warranted and what follows 30 years on is rage expressed in many forms. She explains this well and throughout the book but misses the opportunity to question her motives as an adult, which makes her story relatable but falls short of providing insight.
I too am fat. I wrote about my experiences in my own book, The Fat Lady Sings. I was as open and revealing as I could be. Roxane says things I didn't say, gives voice to a part of me I held back. My trauma is not hers and yet the same.
This book is amazing. 88 short chapters. Spare prose. Full f feeling and meaning. I cannot say enough good things about it. I wish only she and I could get together.