Hunger

Hunger

A Memoir of (my) Body

Book - 2017
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Roxane Gay addresses the experience of living in a body that she calls 'wildly undisciplined.' She casts an insightful and critical eye over her childhood, teens, and twenties -- including the devastating act of violence that was a turning point at age 12 -- and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life. With candor, vulnerability, and authority, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062362599
0062362593
Branch Call Number: 306.4613 G2857h 2017
Characteristics: 306 pages ; 22 cm

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stephaniedchase
Aug 12, 2017

You have to be ready when you sit down to read this truly amazing book: ready for the honesty, ready for the sadness, ready to feel incredible heartache and admirable courage for Gay and everything she has been through. What a beautiful writer, what a beautiful and brave and honest person Gay is as she strips herself bare for us, and forces us to look at a society that can't and won't accept difference. I was so incredibly moved.

KateHillier Jul 13, 2017

This is the most personal book I've read this year and her discomfort screams from every sentence. Roxane Gay is large woman. She is a tall woman. She is a black woman. She is a queer woman. How she moves through life, and how other people see her presence in theirs, is very different.

I'm not going to go through this painfully personal memoir and nitpick it. She's shared it with us, I hope I have learned something from the reading of it that I can put into practice out in the world, and I strongly encourage you to read it too. Yes, even you.

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dani_lacey
Jul 10, 2017

"I am weary of all our sad stories — not hearing them, but that we have these stories to tell, that there are so many."

This quote from Roxane Gay's Hunger best sums up my feelings to her story. In her new book, Gay allows herself to become uncomfortably vulnerable through the pages of this book. (I use the word "uncomfortable" because I'm not good at dealing with others emotions. I'm not the one people go to when they need comforting.) We learn about the trauma that drove her to literally build a barrier around herself. We learn about how, again because of this trauma, she allowed others to misuse and abuse her. We learn about the smaller, still painful moments that define the life of a fat person.

She states early on that this is not a book about life at 30, 40 or even 50 pounds overweight. Hers is a story about living while hundreds of pounds of overweight, and navigating through a physical world that is not designed for "unruly bodies." Some challenges I was already aware of. I was a pretty heavy kid, and am still a chubby adult. I know what it's like trying to shop for clothes. When making healthy changes, I'm also worried "that I am getting ahead of myself." Some challenges were pretty eye-opening. They all prompted me to be more aware of other bodies and the challenges they face.

This book feels less like a memoir and more like a collection of tiny essays. Chapters — sometimes only a page long — are organized into larger parts that are focused on central themes: for example, her background, her day-to-day obstacles, her relationships. Timelines can sometimes be messy, but it worked for me. I could see myself in the future going back to specific mini-essays as are relevant to my own life.

Overall, a definite recommend. Now I need to go back and finish An Untamed State. Dear, Lord, help me. Between that and finishing up Beloved, I'm having one depressing summer.

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athompson10
Jul 01, 2017

Very raw and angry and sad. I admire Roxane Gay's writing tremendously and found this book to have her trademark honesty and unflinching look at life. It is sad to read about the violence she has suffered and the damage it has caused her. Minor quibble, I did find some of the book to be repetitive.

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stephaniedchase
Aug 12, 2017

It is startling to realize that even Oprah, a woman in her early sixties, a billionaire and one of the most famous women in the world, isn't happy with herself, her body. That is how pervasive damaging cultural messages about unruly bodies are -- that even as we age, no matter what material successes we achieve, we cannot be satisfied or happy unless we are also thin.

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stephaniedchase
Aug 12, 2017

This is what girls are taught -- that we should be slender and small. We should not take up space. We should be seen and not heard, and if we are seen, we should be pleasing to men, acceptable to society. And most women know this, that we are supposed to disappear, but it's something that needs to be said, loudly, over and over again, so that we can resist surrendering to what is expected of us.

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dani_lacey
Jul 10, 2017

dani_lacey thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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