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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  87,280 ratings  ·  9,953 reviews
From the New York Times 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, bu
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Harper Perennial (first published June 13th 2017)
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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.
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  87,280 ratings  ·  9,953 reviews


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Emily May
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
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Roxane
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Debbie
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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Hank Stuever
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
Jaidee
Jul 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Elyse  Walters
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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Elle (ellexamines)
“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 w
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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
Esil
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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chan ☆
really hard & really powerful
Wendy
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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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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
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Michael
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, recs
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 friends. The pain of this section is palpable, and the level of patience and sensiti ...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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Adam Dalva
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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-...
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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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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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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
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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Aya
“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
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Charlotte
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roxane Gay' s depiction of her long term struggle with food as an expression of inner dysfunction amd trauma is probably one of the most viscerally, uncomfortably familiar things I've read about in a long time. I don't think I've ever come across an author who is as forthright and articulate as Gay in her discussion of punishing and protecting the body through the abuse of food. Before I read this I was somewhat proud of myself for the things that I've written about my own mental health struggle ...more
Beverly
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This is riveting. Roxane Gay is a wonderful writer. She bares her soul in this memoir, which is raw and painful. I am fat and I have never read anything so honest about it in my life. She struggles with accepting herself as she is, as I do. The honesty and integrity she shows is breathtaking. I remember when my sister berated me during a long, long car trip from Louisville, Kentucky to Chicago about losing weight. She did it in front of my other sister and brother-in-law. They said nothing, but ...more
Nicole
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2021
What to say about this book? How can one even review someone’s personal experiences and life? I can’t. But I’ll talk a bit what this memoir meant to me on a personal note (my reviews almost never had anything from my “rl”) and why I think it’s important.

First, writing such a raw memoir requires courage. To lay yourself bare, to expose your secrets, your shameful thoughts transparently is brave. Roxanne Gay didn’t “beautify” her life. Didn’t hide and wasn’t superficial like some famous people whe
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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
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
...more
Diane
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Stephanie
1.5 ★

I have extremely mixed feelings about this book. It was difficult to get through--not because of the subject matter--but because it was contradictive, circular, and frankly I do not find Gay to be a very talented writer.

On the other hand, she put her intensely painful, personal story out there for people to read, relate to, and judge; that is something you can't deny takes tremendous courage. However, the way it was written–for example writing around the truth instead of just saying whatev
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Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Ba ...more

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