Hunger by Roxane Gay

“I was swallowing my secrets and making my body expand and explode. I found ways to hide in plain sight, to keep feeding a hunger that could never be satisfied — the hunger to stop hurting. I made myself bigger. I made myself safer.”

This book has been on my TBR for AGES. AGES I tell you! I finally had the chance to check it out at my local library and it did not disappoint 👏🏽😫 What a wonderful introduction to the magic that is Roxane Gay. 🔥

Hunger is a heart wrenching memoir that touches on different aspects of body image, gang rape, trauma, and identity. Gay takes us through her experiences dddddddnavigating life after being gang raped at 12, and its effects on her relationship with food and her body. Her intimate style of writing exposes us to a raw and honest account that allows readers to become immersed in her thoughts and feelings from childhood through to adulthood.

I love Gay’s honesty in this book and how she shares such a deeply personal and traumatic part of her childhood. The power of testimony is real, and I have the deepest respect for individuals who are able to share theirs and create a space for learning and sharing amongst others. I can only imagine how many women felt validated between these pages with their own stories regarding sexual assault.

Trauma is so complex, and Gay unpacks this complexity in outlining how it has far-reaching impacts that follow one for the duration of a lifetime. As the quote at the beginning of this review states, the trauma from her rape resulted in an unhealthy relationship with food and her body–contributing to this need for her to armor herself in weight to feel safe. It has also bled into her relationships, making it difficult for her to trust men, create healthy ties, and maintain a positive self-esteem.

As the book progresses, we learn about Roxane’s experience as a “fat” woman. She gives pointed criticisms of the reality of the fat shaming society we live in. Her every day experience as someone who is past “morbidly obese” is truly eye opening. She discusses every day stressors which include chairs being strong enough to sit on, being able to enjoy meals with friends without worrying about fitting into booths, seat belts fitting her on an airplane, etc. It is insane thinking about how our society views “fat people” and how fat is often synonymous with repulsive. This was just a powerful enlightening read all around.

Overall Rating: 5 stars. Such a great read!

 

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