Book review: Hunger by Roxane Gay

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) BodyHunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Content warnings for rape and body issues, both of which are presented in a straightforward but not euphemistic manner from the point of view of the person going through them.

This was a difficult book to get through because it is not comfortable (see content warnings above) but if you are ready to be uncomfortable, this is a book that can crack you open emotionally. How the reader fills in the cracks is up to them; part of the goal of this text is to force us literarily through that same process that Gay went through herself. This was a deeply visceral experience, both in the smooth, straightforward writing, and the reading of the text by the author in the audiobook edition.

I’ve enjoyed Roxane Gay’s other work, and I follow her on Twitter, so I had some notion of what I was in for. This volume is much less tongue-in-cheek and much more personal than Bad Feminist was. It is a great example of deeply affective writing that is deceptive in its perceived simplicity. It’s NOT simple in any way, shape, or form. This kind of writing comes from deep familiarity with both the form and function of language, and Roxane Gay is a master of it.

View all my reviews

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About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a five time Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is Head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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