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Fixed on Fiction

Hunger by Roxane Gay

In December, Fixed on Fiction met to discuss Hunger by Roxane Gay-

From the New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.

“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

-Summary courtesy of Goodreads

We had a lively discussion of Hunger with seven thumbs up votes, three so-so, and three thumbs down. Here are some of the initial comments readers made while discussing this month’s title:

  • I found her (Roxane Gay) to be incredibly likeable. Someone I would want to know and be friends with. Easy to read.
  • I read it one night. I would love to know her and talk to her.
  • Really a commentary on how we as a society look right through fat people. This was eye opening.
  • I wasn’t bothered by the repetition- it made me feel like those words were especially important.
  • So courageous of her to write this and share her story. I’m a closed off person, so the fact that she could be so open and honest was fascinating to me. I like how she slowly opened up more and more and we got to know her better throughout the book.
  • It broke my heart. This is a horribly sad book. A little disappointed…I didn’t think it was written at a high level like I had expected.
  • I had high expectations but the writing was boring to me. What a shame that she didn’t tell her parents.
  • She just broke my heart. I wish she could see herself and love herself the way others do. We have to start with loving ourselves- that’s where it all begins.
  • I didn’t love it because it just bummed me out. I started to dread picking it up again because it was just too sad.
  • The repetition got to me- I didn’t like it. I also questioned her at some points. When the conference attendee didn’t realize she was the keynote speaker and she assumed he couldn’t believe someone who looked like her would be the keynote….was that the case or did he honestly just not know what she looked like? It bothered me.
  • I appreciated the discussion of cultural awareness and how we view overweight people. I do struggle with memoirs because you are only hearing one person’s experience rather than the full picture.


Other books and films mentioned:

The Giver of Stars

Word by Word


Knives Out

The Irishman

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