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Hunger
Cover of Hunger
Hunger
A Memoir of (My) Body
Borrow Borrow

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, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe."

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as "wildly undisciplined," Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

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, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe."

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as "wildly undisciplined," Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    980
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    5 - 7

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • Roxane Gay is the author of the essay collection Bad Feminist, which was a New York Times bestseller; the novel An Untamed State, a finalist for the Dayton Peace Prize; the memoir Hunger, which was a New York Times bestseller and received a National Book Critics Circle citation; and the short story collections Difficult Women and Ayiti. A contributing opinion writer to the New York Times, she has also written for Time, McSweeney's, the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Bookforum, and Salon. Her fiction has also been selected for The Best American Short Stories 2012, The Best American Mystery Stories 2014, and other anthologies. She is the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She lives in Lafayette, Indiana, and sometimes Los Angeles.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 13, 2013
    When Austin (Peregrino) was inducted into the College of Fellows at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, Calif., he described himself as a survivor “from a strange and mythic land called Hollywood.” Austin organizes his life into three parts. In act one, Austin name-drops along his Hollywood road—with an analysis of Judaism in show biz, partially instigated by his Jewish wife. His movie and television days brought him into contact with stars, including Charlie Chaplin, whom he particularly admired. Austin was later blacklisted, having been a member of the Young Communist League during his college days. Despite his later success, Austin wanted something even beyond his career and marriage. Act two tells of his religious conversion and service as a Roman Catholic lay minister, working as a prison chaplain, “touching glass” to say hello to convicts. Act three expresses wisdom: widowed and nearly blind, Austin thinks on the convergence of
    Judaism and Christianity—not assimilation, not synthesis, not conversion, “but an integrated understanding of the past.” His seasoned thoughts about convergence matter the most.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from May 15, 2017
    A heart-rending debut memoir from the outspoken feminist and essayist.Gay (Bad Feminist, 2014, etc.) pulls no punches in declaring that her story is devoid of "any powerful insight into what it takes to overcome an unruly body and unruly appetites." Rather than a success story, it depicts the author, at 42, still in the throes of a lifelong struggle with the fallout from a harrowing violation in her youth. The author exposes the personal demons haunting her life--namely weight and trauma--which she deems "the ugliest, weakest, barest parts of me." Much of her inner turmoil sprang from a devastating gang rape at age 12. "I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe," she writes. Gay painfully recalls the "lost years" of her reckless 20s as a time when food, the anonymity of the internet, and creative writing became escapes and balms for loneliness. The author refers to her body as a "cage" in which she has become trapped, but her obesity also presents itself as a personal challenge to overcome the paralyzing psychological damage caused by rape. Broken into clipped, emotionally resonant chapters, Gay details a personal life spent grappling with the comfort of food, body hyperconsciousness, shame, and self-loathing. Throughout, the author is rightfully opinionated, sharply criticizing the media's stereotypical portrayal of obesity and Oprah Winfrey's contradictory dieting messages. She is just as engaging when discussing her bisexuality and her adoration for Ina Garten, who taught her "that a woman can be plump and pleasant and absolutely in love with food." Gay clearly understands the dynamics of dieting and exercise and the frustrations of eating disorders, but she also is keenly in touch with the fact that there are many who feel she is fine just as she is. The author continues her healing return from brokenness and offers hope for others struggling with weight, sexual trauma, or bodily shame. An intense, unsparingly honest portrait of childhood crisis and its enduring aftermath.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from May 15, 2017
    More than once, Gay, author of essays (Bad Feminist, 2014), short stories (Difficult Women, 2017), and crime fiction (An Untamed State, 2014), refers to writing this memoir as the hardest thing she's ever done. Readers will believe her; it's hard to imagine this electrifying book being more personal, candid, or confessional. At 12, Gay survived a devastating sexual assault, a point on her time line that would forever have a before and an after. She focused the trauma inward, and, as a frequent refrain goes, she doesn't know, or she does, how her body came to be unruly, undisciplined, and the kind of body whose story is ignored or dismissed or derided. The story of her body is, understandably, linked to the story of her life; she tells both, and plumbs discussions about both victims of sexual violence and people whose bodies don't adhere to the ideal of thinness. In 88 short, lucid chapters, Gay powerfully takes readers through realities that pain her, vex her, guide her, and inform her work. The result is a generous and empathic consideration of what it's like to be someone else: in itself something of a miracle.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Buzz has long been building for Gay's memoir, with which she'll go on an extensive author tour.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

  • Library Journal

    February 1, 2017

    Gay, who deals fearlessly with our hardest truths in both essays (the New York Times best-selling Bad Feminist) and fiction (An Untamed State, an LJ Best Book), here addresses issues of eating and self-image, then broadens her meditation on body as she examines violence against women, starting with a terrible incident in her youth. With a 100,000-copy first printing; originally scheduled for May 2016, and the publication month may change.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from June 1, 2017

    Gay (Difficult Women; Bad Feminist) states at least twice in this searing book that she's not as brave as people think she is. Yet, this memoir of her body--still reeling and hiding from the sexual abuse she suffered decades earlier as the result of a gang rape at age 12--displays bravery, resilience, and naked honesty from the first to last page. The essays range from describing the events that contributed to her current body weight to the sexual attack and her ensuing secrecy about it to short entries on the various indignities and difficulties involved in being a person of size in the world. We each have a body, she says, and we can all benefit from a close examination of our relationship with it. VERDICT Buy plenty of copies of this stunning work because it will be on every end-of-year best list; essential reading after Gay's debut novel, An Untamed State, as it explains the emotions behind that brutal story. [See Prepub Alert, 1/4/17.]--Henrietta Verma, National Information Standards Organization, Baltimore

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    December 1, 2015

    "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 there, somewhere." So Gay, who deals with our hardest truths in both nonfiction (Bad Feminist) and fiction (An Untamed State), addresses issues such as eating and self-image, then broadens her meditation on body as she examines violence against women. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2017

    Gay (Difficult Women; Bad Feminist) states at least twice in this searing book that she's not as brave as people think she is. Yet, this memoir of her body--still reeling and hiding from the sexual abuse she suffered decades earlier as the result of a gang rape at age 12--displays bravery, resilience, and naked honesty from the first to last page. The essays range from describing the events that contributed to her current body weight to the sexual attack and her ensuing secrecy about it to short entries on the various indignities and difficulties involved in being a person of size in the world. We each have a body, she says, and we can all benefit from a close examination of our relationship with it. VERDICT Buy plenty of copies of this stunning work because it will be on every end-of-year best list; essential reading after Gay's debut novel, An Untamed State, as it explains the emotions behind that brutal story. [See Prepub Alert, 1/4/17.]--Henrietta Verma, National Information Standards Organization, Baltimore

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • New Republic "A work of staggering honesty . . . . Poignantly told."
  • Entertainment Weekly "The book's short, sharp chapters come alive in vivid personal anecdotes. . . . And on nearly every page, Gay's raw, powerful prose plants a flag, facing down decades of shame and self-loathing by reclaiming the body she never should have had to lose."
  • Los Angeles Times "Bracingly vivid. . . . Remarkable. . . . Undestroyed, unruly, unfettered, Ms. Gay, live your life. We are all better for having you do so in the same ferociously honest fashion that you have written this book."
  • The New York Times Book Review "Luminous. . . . intellectually rigorous and deeply moving."
  • Associated Press "Powerful. . . . fierce. . . . Gay has a vivid, telegraphic writing style, which serves her well. Repetitive and recursive, it propels the reader forward with unstoppable force."
  • Isaac Fitzgerald on the Today show "This is the book to read this summer . . . she's such a compelling mind . . . . Anyone who has a body should read this book."
  • Boston Globe "Hunger is Gay at her most lacerating and probing. . . . Anyone familiar with
    Gay's books or tweets knows she also wields a dagger-sharp wit."
  • Seattle Times "Wrenching, deeply moving. . . a memoir that's so brave, so raw, it feels as if [Gay]'s entrusting you with her soul."
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune "It is a deeply honest witness, often heartbreaking, and always breathtaking. . . . Gay is one of our most vital essayists and critics."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "This raw and graceful memoir digs deeply into what it means to be comfortable in one's body. Gay denies that hers is a story of "triumph," but readers will be hard pressed to find a better word."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "A heart-rending debut memoir from the outspoken feminist and essayist. . . . An intense, unsparingly honest portrait of childhood crisis and its enduring aftermath."
  • Library Journal (starred review) "Displays bravery, resilience, and naked honesty from the first to last page. . . . Stunning . . . essential reading."
  • Shelf Awareness (starred review) "A work of exceptional courage by a writer of exceptional talent."
  • Ron Charles, Washington Post Praise for Bad Feminist:"A strikingly fresh cultural critic."
  • People "Roxane Gay is the brilliant girl-next-door: your best friend and your sharpest critic. . . . She is by turns provocative, chilling, hilarious; she is also required reading."
  • Tanvi Misra, Atlantic, "The Best Book I Read This Year" "[Gay is] hilarious. But she also confronts more difficult issues of race, sexual assault, body image, and the immigrant experience. She makes herself vulnerable and it's refreshing."
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A Memoir of (My) Body
Roxane Gay
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