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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  52,600 ratings  ·  7,046 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
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Hardcover, 306 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by HarperCollins
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Popular Answered Questions
xTx xTx ARCs are one thing. Roxane hadn't even WRITTEN the book when those rating were made. Duh.
Becca If you have a library card there are several apps that you can access audio or ebooks from. I use Overdrive and Hoopla Apps and love them.

Community Reviews

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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  52,600 ratings  ·  7,046 reviews


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Emily May
Apr 14, 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
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Roxane
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.
Debbie
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
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Elyse Walters
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
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Jaidee
Jul 09, 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.
Elise (TheBookishActress)
“I do not want pity or appreciation or advice. I am not brave or heroic. I am not strong. I am not special. I am one woman who has experienced something countless women have experienced. I am a victim who survived.”

This is one of the most powerful memoirs I have ever read.

I’ve realized that Roxane Gay is, while not my style as a fiction author, a fantastic author of nonfiction. Her stories are so emotive, so well-conveyed, so horrifying and so real. And most of all, so incredibly well writt
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Whitney Atkinson
I want to give this a million stars. I want to buy every one of you reading this a copy. WOW.

TW: Rape, anorexia/bulimia, fatphobia

This doesn’t speak exactly to my experiences—and I wouldn’t expect it to because Roxane and I have very different experiences and personalities—but regardless, this is the most validating book I’ve read to date about being fat. It might be the only book I’ve read about being heavy that confirms that I can be happy with myself just for me, not only when a guy loves me
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Thomas
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
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
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Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
This was a hard read. So important and so genuine, but SO hard to read. Fuck. I'm going to be thinking about this for years to come.

TW: rape, fatphobia
Adam Dalva
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm reviewing this for another venue, and there's a lot to say, but it is a memorable, often harrowing book that is more stylistically weird than I'd expected. It will stick with me.

UPDATE: Review posted here! https://www.guernicamag.com/i-wish-i-...
Hannah
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
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Wendy
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
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Michael
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, favorites
My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.

In understated but moving prose, Roxane Gay reflects upon her life as a fat woman living in a misogynistic society that seeks to regiment and shame “unruly” bodies. The six-part book consists of eighty-eight short essays that alternate between autobiography, cultural criticism, and social analysis. The start of the memoir centers on Gay’s weight gain following her gang rape at age twelve by her boyfriend and his fri
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Erin
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
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Jessica Jeffers
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
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Sam
Feb 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
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Lola
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love the 21st century, because books such as this one are being published and their presence in this world make it a better place. The more we read about abuse, fat-shaming, race and womanhood, the more we understand, sympathize, and begin the process of making sure our friends and family members and children feel loved and protected and respected at all times. It takes guts - real guts - to let people not just into your world, but also your mind, with no way to predict how people will respond ...more
Aya Hamza
“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.”

*Listened to the audiobook, read by Roxane Gay herself.

TRIGGER WARNING: Rape and eating disorders.

2.5 stars.
I was hesitant to write this review, because everyone loved this book, and I thought I would.. but I didn't like it as much! Parts of this book made me an
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Carol
"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

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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
Elena
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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Diane
Jan 09, 2016 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
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Vanessa
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
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Sh3lly
People don’t expect the writer who will be speaking at their event to look like me. They don’t know how to hide their shock when they realize that a reasonably successful writer is this overweight. These reactions hurt, for so many reasons. They illustrate how little people think of fat people, how they assume we are neither smart nor capable if we have such unruly bodies.

I am what Roxane Gay would call “Lane Bryant” overweight. My body is still scrutinized and judged, and I still face many of t
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Lucy Langford
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5*****

I know that hunger is in the mind and the body and the heart and the soul.

Extremely powerful, raw and honest. Roxane Gay presents herself fully to the reader, she lets us inside her life, in an unapologetic and truthful way. This is an intimate account of Roxane Gay's experience with her body, something which she describes as 'wildly undisciplined'. She is insightful and critical of the events that had taken place over her childhood, teenage years and twenties.

Roxane Gay presents her vuln
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R.K. Gold
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can’t remember the last time I read such a must read. Not just a book I loved or a book I recommend but a must read. A book that takes you so far into someone else’s mind it could reach even the most selfish individuals empathy.

This is brave writing. This is the kind of reflection piece that leaves me breathless.

I love this, and after reading it I can’t see how anyone can read Roxane Gay’s writing without falling in love with her.
Maria
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.
A
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Hank Stuever
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book is inoculated from too much criticism, because it is indeed an act of courage to write a memoir about having been gang-raped at 12 and draw a direct line from that hideous crime, in no way her fault, to her life of shame-eating her way to extreme obesity, which is, we are to understand, also in no way her fault, a point of view that I suspect will still be difficult for many readers to swallow. (I say that as someone who currently weighs far more than I reasonably should, and totally g ...more
میعاد
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
وقتى دوازدهساله بودم، تعدادى پسر که اهداف خطرناک مردها را در سر میپروراندند به من تجاوز کردند؛ اتفاق وحشتناكى بود، منجر به دگرگونشدن زندگیام شد. پیش از آن، خام بودم، آفتابمهتابندیده بودم. باور داشتم که آدمها ذاتاً خوب هستند و لزوماً فروتنی را به ارث مىبرند. باایمان بودم و به خدا اعتقاد داشتم. و بعد دیگر نداشتم. شکسته بودم. دگرگون شده بودم. هرگز متوجه نخواهم شد که اگر تبدیل به دختر درون جنگل نمیشدم چه کسی میشدم. آن پسرها دختری را که بودم کُشتند، ولی تمام وجودم را نكشتند. آنها تفنگی را روی شقیقهام ...more
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87,730 followers
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
“What does it say about our culture that the desire for weight loss is considered a default feature of womanhood?” 91 likes
“There is an anxiety in being yourself, though. There is the haunting question of "What if?" always lingering. What if who I am will never be enough? What if I will never be right enough for someone?” 62 likes
More quotes…