I am going to start with a few disclosures. The first is I am a Roxane Gay fan. I was introduced to her work about 2 years ago with Bad Feminist and have read all the books she has published.
The second disclosure is I am a fat guy, who got skinny for a bit, but then got fat again after being diagnosed with heart disease which tampered my exercise habits. I disclose that because a lot of what she writes in this book, I can completely identify with- the self hatred, the ad telling you one is not great unless they are skinny, the constant struggle knowing you are fat and the desire to want to stop being fat are all there.
This is not an easy book. My dad asked me this weekend how the book was, as he wants to read it too, and I had a hard time recommending it. It was difficult to recommend not because of the writing, as the writing is incredible, but rather because of the content within the book.
Gay opens the book in the second chapter with the notion- this is not going to end with a picture of her standing next to oversized jeans and everything is happy now that she got skinny. This is definitely not that book.
What this book is, is a very raw and emotional look at the life of a fat women (her words not mine) both internally and externally. This book looks at trauma, at internalized hurt, at self abuse, at physical abuse, at want, at conflict, at sexuality, and lays it all out there. It is almost journal like in that you are getting her inner dialog and secret story laid out there and I was so appreciative of her willingness to write this that I wrote to her on Twitter.
For those with trigger warnings, she does talk about rape and being abused. Part of her story was being gang raped by her then boyfriend and his friends in the woods. As stated earlier, this is a raw book, so it goes into detail. I actually put the book down after reading those chapters as I needed a small breather. She will also keep coming back to this story and others as she talks about why she started eating the way she did.
I cannot begin to state how amazing this book is. I could identify with so much of this book. It was also a pain filled book with deep psychological hurts and healings. This is why I pause when recommending this book a bit. Be prepared.
I gave this one 5 stars.
Here is your Amazon link- Hunger by Roxane Gay