Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay, 306 pages.

Gay, who writes intriguing, humorous, and fascinating essays on a wide variety of subjects, talks about her own past in her newest book. The daughter of Haitian immigrants who insisted that she work hard and do well at school, Gay was a good daughter and did as well as she could; she was a good student. When she was twelve and started seeing a boy she thought cared about her, she couldn't tell her parents, and when that boy; a nice boy from a good family, raped her and let his friends rape her, and her world crumbled, she couldn't tell her family about that either. Twelve-year-old Roxane turned to food for comfort and protection. Having decided after the brutal attack on her that being obese would make her undesirable, and that being undesirable could keep the pain away, Gay's relationship with food and with her body was altered in a way that would continue to vex her into her adult life. Gay talks about her time at high-school, college and graduate school. She talks about her relationships with her students, and her relationships with a series of lovers over the years. Though there is a fair amount of pain in the book, it is a strange sort of joy to read this; the writing is so good and the writer is so strong.

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