Hunger by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is the smart, funny, outspoken author of the bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist and several acclaimed works of fiction. Her new book, Hunger, is a deeply personal memoir that examines how trauma can shape a person’s life and their body. Early in her book, Gay writes: ‘There is the before and the after. Before I gained weight. After I gained weight. Before I was raped. After I was raped.’

Gay’s ‘after’ has been almost 30 years of dealing with the consequences of a savage violence done to her one afternoon in the woods when she was 12 years old. In Hunger, Gay tells of how she turned to food as a solace and an armour, and documents her complicated relationship with her body, her family and her desires. As well as telling her own story, Gay examines how fat bodies are treated by society and the media, and details what it is like to exist in a world that doesn’t accommodate you, a world where ‘the open hatred of fat people is vigorously tolerated and encouraged’.

Hunger is an extraordinarily brave and powerfully honest book. Written in short chapters, it has the intimate, confessional tone of a diary, and every page is unflinching and thought-provoking. Gay writes that ‘people project assumed narratives onto your body and are not at all interested in the truth of your body, whatever that truth might be.’ This memoir is the truth of Roxane Gay’s body, and her story matters. Gay’s story is one of a queer woman, a black woman, a fat woman, a woman who has been the victim of terrible violence, a successful woman, a shy woman, a hungry woman, a warm woman, an ambitious woman. A woman whose work should be read, shared and celebrated.


Nina Kenwood is the marketing manager for Readings.

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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Roxane Gay

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