In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.
With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.
Hunger by Roxane Gay
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Feminism
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
I often say that reading and writing saved my life. I mean that quite literally.
This book was heartbreaking.
I’m usually not too fond of listening to audiobooks, but memoirs and biographies are the rare exception in which I actually prefer them, especially if the authors themselves are reading their work.
Roxane Gay speaks from her heart in Hunger. Her words are raw, unfiltered, and unflinching. You feel her deep-seated pain, and you feel her struggle to cope with the abuse she had to endure in her past, which is still inflicting pain in her present. Her words burrow themselves deep in your mind, preparing to stay there for a long time.
I tried to be the good girl my parents wanted me to be, but it was exhausting. On so many occasions, I wanted to tell them something was wrong. That I was dying inside.
I don’t think I have ever sympathized so deeply with someone whose pain comes from circumstances I can’t even come close to being able to relate to, and I was more than surprised to find people criticizing Roxane Gay for supposedly “doing nothing but complain about her life, and blame others for her misery” in this book.
Maybe I’m biased, because I write myself, but to me it read more like the words of a woman who is bringing her pain to paper, and trying to come to terms with, and process the tormenting thoughts, and resulting habits that are (at the time this book was written), and have been haunting her for most of her life.
I was broken, and then I broke some more, and I am not yet healed, but I have started believing I will be.
If you’re looking for an honest, powerful, and worthwhile memoir, I whole-heartedly recommend reading Hunger.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?
Do you listen to audiobooks?
Do you like reading memoirs or biographies?