A Memoir of (my) Body

Book - 2017
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Roxane Gay addresses the experience of living in a body that she calls 'wildly undisciplined.' She casts an insightful and critical eye over her childhood, teens, and twenties -- including the devastating act of violence that was a turning point at age 12 -- and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life. With candor, vulnerability, and authority, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062362599
Branch Call Number: 306.4613 G253H 2017
Characteristics: 306 pages ; 22 cm


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From the critics

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Oct 11, 2017

What happened to this woman should never happen. To anyone. Whether or not I cared for the book and her writing is irrelevant. I'm hoping that, now that this author is successful in her work, she will use what she's earned to find a competent and compassionate counselor - one in whom she can begin to place her trust. No one can, or should need to, work through the trauma she has experienced alone. The results of needing/endeavoring to do so are all too visible in this memoir.

Oct 04, 2017

A very brave book. I am in awe of, and inspired by, her honesty.

Oct 03, 2017

I enjoyed it much more then I thought I would. Just as she goes over the edge with her life and ideas she captured me again. I learned from her experiences.

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Sep 27, 2017

Roxane Gay takes a fascinating look at the way bodies are perceived in our culture, and her own experiences that have affected her body, self-worth, and health. After she is raped by a group of boys at boarding school, she turns to food for comfort and to make herself unattractive. There are so many troubling aspects of the book, but it’s an important book to read. She discusses the way she takes up space in the world, and how she is always conscious of it. She talks about how society views women’s bodies, her family’s reactions to her weight, the difference between obesity and morbid obesity, and how she is perceived in the world.

LPL_PolliK Sep 26, 2017

"Hunger" is a heartbreaking, brutal and courageous account of the violent gang rape that triggered Gay’s need gain large amounts to weight, to become bigger and bigger, to hide and cushion herself from the world outside. The rape is a defining experience that divides her life into "before" and "after". Gay's memoir weaves together this trauma and her inability to share it with her family with her experiences today living in a black, fat, queer body that is reviled, that isn’t accounted for, that is inconvenient. This is a book that you may have to experience slowly and revisit to take in the full impact. Gay writes with vulnerability, but without fear.

Sep 23, 2017

Holy Hell. Do you ever read something so close to your own experience and it just brings you to tears because finally someone writes exactly how you feel? Roxane Gay is an impeccable writer with a beautiful talent for the written word and she brought, I imagine, thousands of people's experiences with their bodies to the page. When you read Hunger, it is as if she is right here whispering these laments and cries right into you. This book, she points out very quick, is not a “oh woe is me” type of book, it is a series of ‘vignettes’- little moments and comments on her body and it’s experiences. From the moments of her sexual trauma in her early years, all the way to her life as an adult in her 40s and dealing with what it is like to live in a morbidly obese body in our world.

"I was a body, one requiring repair, and there are many of us in this world, living such utterly human bodies.”

Her words are the type that just seethe and burn into you that you just want to underline, highlight, or copy down some of her passages. I will say it takes a lot to make me cry or tear up when I read books, and this one did it. Before I explain, I will admit that my experiences as a plus-size individual is nowhere near as difficult or problematic as the experiences Roxane describes in her memoir. I am very lucky that I don’t have to worry about: sitting in a booth or table at a restaurant, whether or not I’ll break the legs of chairs, break a sweat or pass out from standing too long, the list goes on. MY experience is a privileged one to the one expressed here in this book.

"I’ve been that girl, too big for the clothes in the store, just trying to find something, anything, that fits, while also dealing with the commentary of someone else who means well but can’t help but make pointed, insensitive comments. To be that girl in a clothing store is to be the loneliest girl in the world."

The one ‘chapter’ or passage that stopped me dead was a time where Roxane describes being in a clothing store in the dressing room. She witnesses a young girl being scolded and humiliated by her thin mother. By no means have I ever had to experience my own mother making me feel guilty for the body I already had guilt for making big. But there is nothing like the experience that is a young individual just trying to so hard to fit in; then being faced with the predicament of squeezing into the biggest size of jeans in that section, praying they fit, and not having the words to tell your anticipative mother standing outside the dressing room that… they don’t fit.

This memoir will stick with me for sure, and I would gladly place it in the hands of those who want to read this type of subject, but also those who (in my opinion) need to be educated on the experience of sexual abuse victims (Roxane insists on victim- not survivor) and the potential outcomes of those people. I also would place this book in the hands of someone who thinks they know the ‘fat experience’ when they really only know the surface. I consider myself one of these individuals- I thought I knew everything just from my own perspective as a plus size girl- but in reality there is so much more.

Sep 17, 2017

Revealing, honest, courageous. The level of her candor was uncomfortable. As I read I was constantly challenged about my feelings, reactions, and fears. She evoked wide thought about relationships of all kinds, introspection about my place among the people I affect, pity and some anger. I could not help comparing her issues with those created by addiction and trauma generally. Mostly, I was left with how culture, particularly ours (and particularly as it relates to our being sexual creatures) distorts, bends, contorts and confuses. This is a very valuable work. Our city library selected it for the book everyone should read. It is a good selection. I would love to sit and talk with this author, question her, listen, learn and think, but I would be afraid of her and offending her. An odd contradiction of feelings and that is what this book evoked.

Sep 16, 2017

Horrific experience and wonderful writing despite everything....Not easy read whatsoever.

strangegazelle Sep 13, 2017

Roxane Gay's "Hunger" deals with a sort of psychological horror I think. In the process of eating more and more to become larger, safer, and less desirable to predatory men and women, she has to face this new difficulty of dealing with the physical heaviness of her body. Here, I really appreciated her observations about the challenges she faces with going to events, flying, seeing a movie. She gives a strong indictment of a society that has a long way to go in prioritizing the needs of all of its people. I very much like Ms. Gay’s openness mixed with her sense of humor. This book is not always easy to read (as any summary of “Hunger” would show) but her directness and skill as a writer gives and lifts the gravity of the material as needed. Recommended.

Aug 30, 2017

I had to put this book down several times in reading it. It is so raw I felt like I was invading the author's privacy - except that it all happened to the author. But I just had to look away. While I thought of not finishing the book, in the end I read it all. You learn right away (if you didn't already know) that she was gang raped at a young age. At the end I wondered if the boy that led her to the cabin to be gang raped knows about the book, knows that he is described (though not named) as an adult in the present time. I hope he does and is waiting for the "the other shoe to drop" as I can't believe this is the end of the story. And there is always the question - did they rape more than one little girl? While the book was hard to read by the end I wanted more - I want him and the other boys to pay for their crime.

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Sep 23, 2017

"I’ve been that girl, too big for the clothes in the store, just trying to find something, anything, that fits, while also dealing with the commentary of someone else who means well but can’t help but make pointed, insensitive comments. To be that girl in a clothing store is to be the loneliest girl in the world."

Sep 23, 2017

"I was a body, one requiring repair, and there are many of us in this world, living such utterly human bodies.”

Aug 12, 2017

It is startling to realize that even Oprah, a woman in her early sixties, a billionaire and one of the most famous women in the world, isn't happy with herself, her body. That is how pervasive damaging cultural messages about unruly bodies are -- that even as we age, no matter what material successes we achieve, we cannot be satisfied or happy unless we are also thin.

Aug 12, 2017

This is what girls are taught -- that we should be slender and small. We should not take up space. We should be seen and not heard, and if we are seen, we should be pleasing to men, acceptable to society. And most women know this, that we are supposed to disappear, but it's something that needs to be said, loudly, over and over again, so that we can resist surrendering to what is expected of us.


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Sep 23, 2017

taylorwoods thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Jul 10, 2017

dani_lacey thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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