I don’t have the words to describe this book. Raw. Emotional. Driven. Powerful. Any woman who has ever suffered needs to read this books, whether that suffering came about as something major or minor.
As Gay writes, “I am sharing my truth and mine alone.”
At first glance, I thought this memoir to be about Gay’s struggles with weight and identity, and it was – but it was so much more. Gay lays out her own suffering with not only weight, but with an unspeakable thing done against her – she provides powerful insight into the way the world looks at/thinks about/assumes things about women of larger size. She then supplements that with insight of how the world looks at women with fierce, somber truth.
I know that’s a strange phrase to give to her writing, but it’s how I see it. She writes with a sobering reality and at-times harsh truth. She doesn’t sugar coat it – she tells it like it is. This book touched something inside of me that no other books has yet done. I didn’t even know it was there until now. That something is raw, feminine, and full of spirit – but is contained by fear, uncertainty, and assumptions brought on by the world I live in where a woman is expected to live a certain way (church, babies, potlucks).
This book reminded me that I am not alone in my fears and insecurities. There is no perfection out there to which women can be measured. It is inside, too.
Gay touched on the subject of the female ideal as presented by society, that a woman who is larger is abnormal and in need of a diet plan, diet pill, and the next diet craze – she talks about the “get thin” TV shows that present fat people as sick people who must get better, who must get thin, because as Gay writes, our society equates thinness with happiness, and in order for a fat girl to be happy, she must lose weight.
She also touches on something that I’ve not read before – how when a girl gains weight, people treat her differently. They don’t know how to act, as though you’re ill, as though you need to see a therapist, as though you have a problem – and she speaks with a sobering, eye-opening truth.
I gave Hunger by Roxane Gay a 5 out of 5 for the truthful, raw, unforgiving punch to the emotional jaw. My only beef with this book comes in the lack of commas. I mean, this woman loves a run-on sentence.