“My father believes hunger is in the mind. I know differently. I know that hunger is in the mind and the body and the heart and the soul.” ―
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body is a 2017 memoir by Roxane Gay. In Hunger, Gay describes her relationship with of her body, from food and weight, to her experience as a victim of sexual violence. She was gang raped at age 12 and started to gain weight to feel safe and not to be seen as attractive to men. “I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. She worked on turning her body into a fortress. It’s about “living in the world when you are three or four hundred pounds overweight, when you are not obese or morbidly obese but super morbidly obese” when society sees weight loss as a default feature of womanhood. It’s also about the author being so lost in her early twenties and eventually to process of self-care and healing herself.
“Do my boundaries exist if I don’t voice them?”
Hunger is not an easy read or a book too listen to. It’s hard and raw and incredibly full of emotion. I first listened to Hunger nearly two years ago close to the release date as I had heard so much about it. Now, I’ve become a fan of Gay. She’s a thinker with strong and clarifying thoughts. I think this book was one of the first to teach me to ask the question why and how people never seem to ask that. We see, we judge but we never ask why and that is wrong.
“I buried the girl I had been because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. She is still small and scared and ashamed, and perhaps I am writing my way back to her, trying to tell her everything she needs to hear.” ―
How To Read Hunger
1. Audible edition is pure gold because Gay is narrating the book herself. Get it if you love audiobooks.
2. I think it’s important to keep in mind that this is a memoir. I’ve seen a lot of enraged reviews about how the author is just a fat woman who cannot control her body and while that might be true, skip the judgement.
3. Recommended reading: Bad Feminist & Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture