Hunger, A Memoir of (My) Body

This was the first time I realized that weight loss, thinness really, was social currency.

Roxane Gay

How did I find this book?

A colleague and mentor of mine recommended I read this book.

Where did I read this book?

I mostly read this book on my couch during the morning quietness, a few paragraphs while riding the light rail to work, and in bed as I wound down for the night.

How did this book add value or otherwise speak to my experiences?

I appreciate the way Roxane saw things for what they were and described them accordingly. She had no interest in articulating her experiences in a way that sound nice for the sake of niceness. She trusted the reader, I think, to be able to follow along with her as she makes wove many different elements of her life into a powerful and informative narrative.

I feel Roxane unlatched the gate that keeps uncomfortable subjects locked away in a unnecessarily marked taboo cage.

To whom do I recommend this book?

I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about the experiences of others who may not at first glance resemble anything with which you are familiar. Things are seldom what they appear on the surface.

Why recommend this book?

As a black gay man in the United States of America, I know a thing or two about the power of body shaming. As Roxane consistently reminds us, I too have a good life as measured by factors our society holds in high esteem. I’m gainfully employed, married to someone who loves me, and live in a region of the country (while problematic in certain aspects) is relatively safe.

Even so, none of that erases the soul crushing hatred gay men hurl at other gay men violating the rules of body perfection. My fellow gay men can be some of the most racist, hateful, condescending, judgmental people you’ll ever encounter. It took me a long time to realize such poison is all projection, that my body image is not the point. A society built on heteronormativity, white supremacy and farcical body perfection is the issue. Additionally, our nation does not value emotional intelligence. If you are interested in learning how these things show up for Roxane, I urge you to read this book.

Finally, I would never equate my experiences to those of Roxane; I did learn the thoughts I had about my body mirrored some of those she revealed about hers.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 320
ISBN 13: 9780062362599