Hunger: a Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Hunger.png5 stars

Wow. This book rocked my world.
It is so deeply honest and emotionally charged and utterly unforgettable.

It’s the kind of memoir, the kind of vulnerable confession that opens up an entirely new perspective and starts an entirely new dialogue– one that goes beyond the blanket body positivity statement that simply celebrates Big Beautiful Women, while ignoring some of the more painful barbs and day to day struggles and humiliation they face from other people in an environment that is not accommodating for their “unruly” and “massively corpulent” builds.

For a small moment I resisted taking this out. I was afraid it would be far too sad. I was afraid it would be far too triggering. Hunger: A Memoir Of My Body is both of those things at the same time, yet still undeniably a story about resiliency and hope. It is not a tragedy. It is not disgusting. What it is, is instead a no holds barred narrative of a woman who was gang raped at age 12. A woman who decided that food could bring her comfort, food could bring her safety. By building up her body, accumulating more and more mass her fortress would firmly be in place. What Roxane Gay didn’t realize was that her binge eating would lead to her becoming super morbidly obese and a prisoner in her own body. Her attempts at salvation ended up instead shackling her to more shame and self-resentment.

Hunger chronicles some of the most tumultuous times in Roxane’s life. In a series of 88 short chapters, she weaves us a tale of a young spirited girl who once her light was dimmed, turned her pain inwards. The chapters vary. Some are careful musings. Some are reflections on fond memories (or not so fond ones). Some are teeth-clenchingly heart-breakingly confessions. The words are weighty but not the prose is not dense. The pages race by and with it, drags us the reader deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole to the “hidden in plain sight” plight of women whose obese bodies don’t confine themselves to the norms.

If you read one nonfiction book this year, pick this.

Read this book this month.

Read this book today.

Read this book.

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