Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay 320 pages
“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”
"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." (summary courtesy of Goodreads)
Written in short chapters, Gay explores not only her own life, but society as a whole, bringing together observations about herself, but also of the people that are part of her life, and those she has chance encounters with.
I was fortunate to be able to hear Gay speak recently and was happy to find that in person, she is just as candid, and just as thought-provoking (and funny) as I expected her to be. I had read all of her other books before, and while I hadn't had an opportunity to read this book until I attended the event, I knew I was going to find it just as interesting as her other books. While I cannot say that my life mirrors hers, I still found myself nodding my head when I heard her speak, and also nodding my head when I was reading her book. Her experiences speak to shared experiences among many of us, I think (and at least, many people in the audience at the event) --- but I feel this book should really be read by those who feel they have no shared experience with her, because it's a book that opens people's eyes, and gives them a greater understanding (and hopefully, some empathy) for other people.