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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay []



Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body is startling. It is moving and important. It is hard to read and hard to put down.

In this memoir of her body Gay puts into words so much that would generally be left unsaid. Gay’s writing is clear and concise. It does not shy from the contradictions in life. It is both restrained and emotional. It is devastating. Gay tells us about her life. She was raped at the age of twelve. She is fat. She is scared. She is complex, intelligent, insightful, compassionate, and a brilliant writer. She lives a privileged life and recognizes her privilege. She is the subjected to great prejudice and discrimination. In Hunger she shares truths that must be incredibly difficult to share and she does so very well.

Gay’s book tells us much about her life, but it also tells us much about our culture, our country, our attitudes. We are not kind to fat bodies. We are not kind to women’s bodies. We are not kind to black bodies. We are not kind to ourselves. You probably already know this, but Gay’s book will still open your eyes. Her perspective is probably not one you have heard before.

On the back of the dust jacket Ann Patchett tells us why this book is important and I cannot improve on what she says. She writes:

“It turns out that when a wrenching past is confronted with wisdom and bravery, the outcome can be compassion and enlightenment—both for the reader who has lived through this kind of unimaginable pain and for the reader who knows nothing of it. Roxane Gay shows us how to be decent to ourselves and decent to one another. Hunger is an amazing achievement in more ways than I can count.”

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