“This is a memoir of (my) body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not.”
― Roxane Gay,
About a month ago I saw Roxane Gay speak in Athens, Georgia. I purchased her latest book, Hunger: a memoir of (my) body, at the reading and she signed it. I was starstruck by her tenacity, warmness, humor, and brilliance. I thought Hunger would be a book that I could zip through with ease in the space of a few hours. That was not the case.
The book has been everywhere in the media and to do a synopses is overly simplistic and difficult to phrase. In Hunger, Gay writes about weight, her family, trauma, sexism, racism, love, sexuality, success, struggle, and a myriad of other topics in short, stomach-punchingly beautiful vignettes.
Often I would read a few pages, put the books down, and weep. There is so much in this book that speaks to my own trauma and my own fraught relationship with my body. It felt like being recognized. That feelings I never articulated because they were too painful or left me feeling too vulnerable were eloquently and sharply written.
A review like this is difficult to write. I’m making more of an effort to keep my story private and in trying to review this book I keep thinking, “yes, and this too.”
I will say that this memoir is not just for those of us who are fat. I can see this feeling of wanting so badly to be accepted the way you are striking against the feeling of wanting to change or blend or not be so different speaking to all sorts of bodies, genders, and sexual orientations.
It was a difficult, yet empowering read and this brief review does not do it justice.