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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  20,650 Ratings  ·  3,180 Reviews
From the bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself

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 t
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by HarperCollins
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xTx xTx ARCs are one thing. Roxane hadn't even WRITTEN the book when those rating were made. Duh.

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Emily May
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not. This is not a story of triumph, but this is a story that demands to be told and deserves to be heard.

How do I even begin? If I could give this book a hundred stars, I would. And no, not just because it is important and it is heartbreaking - which it is both - but because Gay is one of the best writers I've ever known. The difficulty was deciding how to use quotes without quoting the wh
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I haven't written this yet but it will be okay. Food is delicious.

UPDATE: I have created a Word File entitled Hunger_Book. I have copied and pasted many Tumblr entries into this file along with some ideas as to how to give the book shape. Food is still delicious.

UPDATE 2: This book is still in progress so your low ratings are funny. Is this a motivational tool? It's working.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written....

Tender, poignant and courageous....

Heartfelt, heartbreaking and brave....

Clearly, Roxanne's book deals with a dark, difficult and important subject. I can't imagine anyone more suited to explore what it means to be overweight.......
"in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen".

"Hunger" is a story that needed to be written.

Roxane Gay says....."writing this book is the most difficult thing I've ever done. Too lay myself so vulnerable has not been an easy thing
Jan 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Really torn about this one. On the one hand, this is an amazingly honest account of Roxane Gay's life with an unruly body, as she calls it, which developed after she was gang raped at 12. She ate and ate so that she could get big enough to build a fortress around herself.

On the other hand, the book fell short for me. It was repetitive, for one, although I do think some of the repetition was purposeful--a stylistic choice. The language, to me, was dull. Plus there was nothing new on the subject o
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
Listening to Roxanne Gay read her memoir, Hunger, was like listening to a close friend divulging some of her most painful and intimate memories, thoughts and feelings -- if that friend also happened to be a wickedly good writer. It was uncomfortable, heartbreaking and awe inspiring. I've read other excellent books by women who talk about their own and society's reactions to their large bodies, but Hunger is in its own class -- so smart and real and infinitely nuanced. 

I can't think of anything m
Jenny (Reading Envy)
The thing I always admire about Roxane Gay's writing, even when it makes me uncomfortable, is her ability to tackle issues head-on, with unflinching honesty. She may have hesitated, but you never see it on the page.

This very open memoir about hunger and size is powerful. This is Roxane Gay's experience, laid bare. I can't imagine what it took for her to get all of these thoughts on the page. There is a bit of repetition or overlap between the tiny chapters, but this is reflective of the daily li
Jul 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
I cannot jump on the bandwagon of this being a wonderful and empowering book.

Sorry folks but as Ms Gay continues to blame the world for her unhappiness there is just no chance for peace. I wish her the very best but I would not recommend this to anybody.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the memoir I will compare all other memoirs against. Roxane Gay has written one hell of a perfect book. If I hadn't been a fan before, I would for sure be one now. Not only is this an honest, unflinching look at herself and her life and her choices, it is also stylistically beautiful in a way most books (fiction or non-fiction) never achieve.

Roxane Gay tells, quite literally, the story of her body. She is completely and brutally honest in her approach and does not mince her words when de
I finished Hunger five hours ago and still feel such overwhelming gratitude for Roxane Gay's writing; this memoir is my favorite 2017 read by far and one of those rare works that makes me so thankful for my ability to read at all. Hunger focuses on Gay's fatness, how being fat has affected her life in so many negative and unfair ways, and the rape she experienced as a twelve-year-old that precipitated her weight gain. She has an enormous talent for confronting complex, ugly truths in her writing ...more
Roxane Gay is a National treasure.

Hunger by Roxane Gay is raw, gritty, honest, heartbreaking, powerful, and beautiful. I can't say enough amazing things about Roxane Gay and her important words. Hunger explores the lasting effects trauma has had on Roxane's life. At 12 years old she was brutally gang raped by a boy she had a crush on and his friends. She kept this awful secret for thirty years, blaming herself as so many survivors of rape do. She gained weight in order to shield herself and mak
Update: I had to share Roxane's interview on the Daily Show, because it's amazing.

Holy shit, Roxane Gay has written one hell of a memoir. This book is powerful on about forty-seven different levels and I really think that it ought to be required reading for anyone interested in feminism and the body-positive movement. But also, just anyone who wants to read good writing because holy shit, Roxane Gay: How do you write like this?! It's kind of unfair.

This book was originally announced as a 2016
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Roxane Gay, thank you.

Unflinching honesty, ugly and beautiful truth. Reading Roxane Gay's memoir Hunger is at once a difficult, intimate endeavor, but the sheer power of Gay's blunt, unsparingly honest prose made this a single sitting read for me, gobsmacked by her willingness to reveal the depths of her pain, her rage, her hope, her insecurities, her jealousy, and her hunger for so many things in this world, some attainable and some tantalizingly out of reach due to physical, cultural, societal
"Something Terrible Happened"

Whew! Roxane Gay gives it up and lays it all out there baring body and soul to the world in HUNGER.

She writes about the unspeakable horror that broke her young body and mind at age 12 and reveals the struggles of a 400+ weight challenged woman in our society....the limitations....the stares....the shame....and the constant battle of trying to lose hundreds of pounds.

She also reveals facts about health issues, personal relationships and difficulty in purchasing clothe

Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am of two minds about this book.
Firstly, Roxanne Gay's suffering is unimaginable. Reading this was hard, hard to read someone's account of their living hell and building a body as a cage because life is so dangerous and cruel. And it is. She's right about that.
What Roxanne experienced, her brutal gang rape, traumatised her, brutalised her, and got her fixated on her BODY. I have deep compassion for her.
The book was also illuminating in its exploration of culture's cruelty, prejudice, and rhet
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A nuanced cultural understanding of gender did not exist then - girls were pink and boys were blue and that was that.

Trigger Warning: The book and this review mention rape and obesity.

Hunger by Roxane Gay is powerful and heartbreaking, but it’s also honest but bold. It gives us a raw image of what Roxane went through. From her tomboyish looks growing up to her rape, to her obesity, to her struggles of life as she tried fixing this problem she made herself. Roxane is a literary character tha
Jessica Woodbury
It does not happen very often that you read a memoir that makes you rethink what memoir is for and what it can do, but when it does it is a very special experience. HUNGER is that kind of memoir.

Gay wants her readers to understand not just who she is and what her experience in the world has been. She wants them to know what it is like to exist in her body. I am a woman, so of course my experience thinking about my body and what others see and how I am treated because of it is going to be signif
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part self loathing part empowering account of a woman dealing and living with her life long weight demons.

She recounts so many of the indignities that befall her as a larger person in today's society.

It's both incredibly uncomfortable and comforting to hear someone else describe trauma and pain so acutely. It makes your own pain and troubles feel not so isolating. I found some of the stories here so brutally honest and feel so ashamed at humanity. The cruelty, the indignity she suffered due to
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This book gutted me. It is raw and emotional, and Roxane is so honest about her suffering that I wish I could give her a hug. Except she says she doesn't like hugs, so instead I'll try to virtually comfort her with this book review.

Hunger is called a memoir of her body, and Roxane describes what it's like to move through the world as a obese person. She also explains why she became so big, and it's linked to a brutal assault she experienced when she was 12. You see, Roxane was gang-raped by boy
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
hunger: a memoir of (my) body displays the upper third of a fork on the cover. its roots are just visible, slightly out of focus, its gradient tines casting a shadow over the word hunger in the title. with this perspective, we see tiny rays of light between the tine's shadows, little glimpses of light within that hunger.

i now see this within this image a symbolic precursor to what was ahead in ms. gay's personal account. the reader is provided with small parts of her roots: her family, her horro
Book Riot Community
Written in six parts and 88 chapters that read like vignettes, Hunger is not a conventional memoir. The book’s subtitle, “A Memoir of (My) Body,” conveys the real subject. After being gang-raped in a cabin in the woods when she was only twelve, Gay turned to food because her body “Needed to be a safe harbor rather than a small, weak vessel that betrayed me.” Gay shares her observations about being a woman of a size in a world that is not built for, or has any tolerance of, large bodies. Hunger g ...more
“This is a memoir of (my) body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not.”
Damn this is some raw stuff here. Roxane Gay's honesty about very real issues - both internal and external - will surely open up validation, empathy, perspective, and a line of communication for others. The human condition is complex enough but it can turn in
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
* 3.5 stars rounded up.

"Something terrible happened."

Roxane Gay is a very fine writer and this memoir about living in her extremely overweight body is exceedingly honest...and oh so depressing. Roxane was gang raped by her young boyfriend and his buddies when she was twelve and she never told anyone, not even her very loving and supportive family. After that, she started down a path of self-destruction, gaining incredible amounts of weight, and believing she wasn't worthy of being treated well o
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
to the bone
and full of pain
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Didi by: Memoir
According to my electronic dictionary, hunger means a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat or a strong desire or craving. I must say that Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger A Memoir of (My) Body was named appropriately.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was fine. Interesting. Readable. At times poignant. But I am disappointed because I thought I was going to read something spectacular and brilliant - something that would make me look at the world and the people around me differently. I think I got this idea from the episode of This American Life that featured some of the material that later went into this book. I found that episode fascinating, but unfortunately, I didn't find that this book went much deeper than the radio show did.
Cathrine ☯️
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
“For so long I’ve never talked about this. I suppose we should keep our shames to ourselves, but I’m sick of this shame. Silence hasn’t worked out so well.”

I grew up during times when privacy was valued and sought after and now live in one where it has done an about face. With fake news and Photoshop running rampant it’s hard to distinguish fact from fiction. I mention this because in this time of personal self-obsession and doctored publication I question everything and believe almost nothin
Wendi Lee
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I was thankful for receiving it, having wanted to read this book for months, and am even more thankful now that I've read it. This is an important book, a memoir about one woman's struggle with her weight and beyond that, her place in the world. So many passages resonated with me that I highlighted at least a fourth of the book.

When Roxane Gay was 12 years old, she was brutally gang raped. To cope with the trauma, and to protect herself from fu
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger is about her life as a “woman of size”. I agree with many people who have described this book as emotionally raw. She describes a tragic event that happened to her in her youth and the weight gain that resulted from it. She centers most of her memoir on what her life is like having an “unruly body”, the daily interactions with people who instantly judge her because of her size, the things that most people take for granted like sitting in one seat in a movie theater or ...more
Rebecca Foster
(3.5) I’d never read anything by Roxane Gay before, but somehow already knew the basics of her story: the daughter of Haitian immigrants to the American Midwest, she was gang raped at age 12, and to some extent everything she’s done and become since then has been influenced by that one horrific experience. Not least her compulsive overeating: “I ate and ate and ate to build my body into a fortress,” she writes, as if the bigger she grew the safer she would remain. At her heaviest Gay was super m ...more
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
For my nonfiction writing seminar, senior year of university, we were asked to write memoir. I wrote about what had at that point been a defining moment in my life: in high school, a boy I was good friends with threatened to rape and kill me on numerous occasions (and in graphic detail) because I wouldn't date him. There was never any violence committed against me, just the threat, and once he pressed his hand hard against my throat mimicking a knife. But I told my sister, who told our parents, ...more
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Roxane Gay’s writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, West Branch, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy culture blog, and many others. She is the co-editor of PANK and essays editor for The ...more
More about Roxane Gay...
“What does it say about our culture that the desire for weight loss is considered a default feature of womanhood?” 33 likes
“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.” 23 likes
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