The Body: A Safe Space
Title: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
Author: Roxane Gay
Genre: nonfiction feminism memoir
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Summary: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body is a story about Roxane Gay and her relationship with her body. This book is filled with themes such as trauma, abuse, the desire to be loved, a journey to self-love, and acceptance of things that we can not change.
Thoughts before reading the book: There are a few books that I feel might be too heavy for me to read alone. Hunger is one of those books for me, so when I saw that the Bad and Bookee Community was having a book discussion on it I took it as a sign that now was my time to read it!
Thoughts after reading the book: Chapter 2 set the stage for me when Gay said “I don’t have any powerful insight into what it takes to overcome an unruly body and unruly appetite. Mine is not a success story. Mine is simply a true story”. I literally shouted out loud ‘TELL YOUR TRUTH SIS' while reading and telling her truth she did!
This was my first time reading a book by Roxane Gay and I can't wait to read more of her work. Hunger is a book for EVERYONE! You don’t have to be someone struggling with their weight to empathize with the themes and topics that are touched on throughout this book.
I loved how Gay started her story from the very beginning of her existence as a child. I smiled at the stories of her being a happy child with loving parents. My smile quickly disappeared as Gay shared the details of being gang-raped by a boy who she trusted and his friends. As a good catholic girl, Gay shared how traumatizing this experience was and how she has felt broken ever since.
"Those boys treated me like nothing so I became nothing."
Gay then went on to use food to enlarge herself big enough to hide in plain sight from the attention of others, especially men, to create a safe space for herself. I guess never really thought of this perspective of the body: a safe space. Gay would carry this theme of the body being her safe space throughout the book.
Gay shared her day-to-day struggles, physical pain, and awkward interactions with others as a “fat” person. She struggled in relationships with herself, men and women. She struggled with self-identity and she struggled with an eating disorder. Gay brings awareness of the injustices, judgment, and the ways the world treats "fat" people.
I secretly hoped that Gay would name-drop and expose her rapists so that they could publicly wear their title on their skin as Gay wears titles due to her size.
I’m so proud of Gay for being so vulnerable and writing Hunger. I hope that the writing process of Hunger was a healing process for her. I hope that this book encourages others, who have gone through similar life experiences, to tell their truth, whatever that may be.
This book has sparked a desire in me to start a true relationship with my body. I want to give my body grace and be thankful for its functionality, for its durability, and for protecting me. As I think of the current state of my body, I must admit that I am not too excited to trade in my oversize sweaters for a sundress as we approach warmer weather. But when I reflect on how my body kept me safe and healthy during a whole pandemic, the least I can do is show it grace, love and appreciation. I’m excited about this newfound relationship I’m going to start with my body. Thank you Roxane Gay for sharing your story!
- Maya & The Spine Down