Review: "Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body" by Roxane Gay



Being a fat woman in America is similar to first century lepers: your condition is so abhorrent, so disgusting, so unacceptable that if it were politically possible we would probably be given our own colony.


Rarely has a woman so poignantly, painfully, and unflinchingly faced the world with description of what this walk-through-life-fat is like. Welcome, Roxane Gay.


Roxane Gay and I are not just separated by political beliefs; philosophical differences or different faiths. If it were possible we would be on different planets. She is a liberal lesbian. I a Conservative Christian. She an Atheist from Haiti; I a Southern Baptist Texan. However, our commonality is our struggle with being fat (a word so horrible most won't use it. Choosing instead "overweight, large, buxom".)


Unflinching and raw, Roxane not only uses the word "fat" she writes about being fat in a thin-worshiping world without apology; she articulates the shame in ways that causes a physical reaction for readers who relate.


Her vulnerability is palpable: having to ask for a seat belt extender on a crowded plane; the need to order men's clothing on line to find the size that goes beyond Lane Bryant; being asked to leave an event where she was the Keynote Speaker (a fat woman could not possibly be the brilliant writer.) She tells the story of her life and the continual hunger she faces, both for food and for acceptance and love. Gay does not sugar coat her trauma or the reality of living over weight and the judgement she receives for being so.


Roxane never loses the weight - there isn't the "victory" typical of fat-girl stories. No, the book ends without resolution; no before-and-afters, just the inside-out of a brave writer.



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