(205) 870-1117 Mon - Sat : 6am - 10pm / Sun : 7am - 10pm Get Directions

HUNGER: A MEMOIR OF (MY) BODY by Roxane Gay

September 28, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I read Roxane Gay’s Hunger in a few sittings on the day it was released. I am a fan of Gay’s work and had been awaiting this book for a couple of years—since I first heard she was writing a memoir about her body. The publication date ended up being later than initially announced because Gay had a hard time engaging the content. And anyone who reads this memoir will be able to see why.

 

Gay’s life is one full of tragedy and difficulty. She has been ridiculed and oppressed and violated in ways that no human being should have to experience. One reason I enjoy reading memoirs is that I have an opportunity to hear from another person what it’s like to walk around inside their skin. Some memoirs are harder to take in, but I think it’s important for me not to turn away if I can help it.

 

In Hunger, Gay writes about what it’s like to be morbidly obese. She shares examples of what she faces from people and systems and institutions while she’s attempting to live her life. She also shares some of the factors that have contributed to her weight gain. But these topics are not easy to discuss. In Section IV of the book she writes:

 

I hesitate to write about fat bodies and my fat body especially. I know that to be frank about my body makes some people uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable too. I have been accused of being full of self-loathing and of being fat-phobic. There is truth to the former accusation and I reject the latter. I do, however, live in a world where the open hatred of fat people is vigorously tolerated and encouraged.

 

But Gay isn’t completely hopeless. She also writes:

 

All things considered, I have a reasonable amount of self-esteem. When I’m around the right people, I feel strong and powerful and sexy. I am not fearless the way people assume I am, but despite all my fears, I am willing to take chances and I like that too about myself.

 

We do live in a world where fat people are frequently treated as less than human. While I have a different take on some of the aspects of body politics than Gay has, I’m grateful for her courage in writing about these topics, for sharing her story, and for bringing to light so many things that have lingered in the darkness for too long.

 

Charlotte lives in Homewood with her husband and their two children. She’s earning an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University, and she does freelance writing and copywriting. You can find her online at www.charlottedonlon.com, on Twitter at @charlottedonlon, and on Instagram at @charlottedonlon. You can sign up for her newsletter about books and writing here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GOODBYE, VITAMIN by Rachel Khong

September 25, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I’m a fan of Twitter although it wears me out sometimes. I need to take breaks from it, but it's probably my favorite of all of the social media options. When I finished Goodbye, Vitamin... read full article

Everyone's Story Matters: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

September 16, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Yesterday a friend's Facebook post caught my eye. She's a therapist and lives in Orlando with her husband and three kids. After enduring the wrath of Hurricane Irma, she posted that The Fantastic Flying Books... read full article

Brené Brown's Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

September 12, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

  During an appointment with the first therapist I ever met with, I asked him if there's something wrong with me because I've never had a best friend who lasted more than a couple of... read full article

John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien

September 05, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I must confess I've never read any of Tolkien's books. But after reading the children's book John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien written by Caroline McAlister and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, I'm now convinced... read full article

Grief, Resilience, and Option B

September 01, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Since I married my husband almost twenty years ago, one of my greatest fears has been losing him to some kind of tragic early death. After I became a mama, this fear expanded to include losing... read full article

Author Interview: Gin Phillips on Fierce Kingdom, Writing, and Motherhood

August 14, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Gin Phillips and I hung out on her back porch recently and talked about her new book, writing, and motherhood. Here’s some of what we discussed:   When did you start writing? I’ve always written... read full article

Making a Mark: She Persisted and Radiant Child

August 10, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I grabbed two children's books from Church Street a couple of weeks ago for my kids (ages 12 and 14) and me to read. We believe you're never too old for children's books and have been enjoying... read full article

A Review: Becoming Ms. Burton

August 03, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Many conversations I hear about social justice issues are taking place among people who aren’t necessarily suffering from oppression. There are a lot of well-meaning people who talk about the effects of racism. They advocate... read full article

Author Interview: Kristen Iskandrian

July 28, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I got to spend some time with local author Kristen Iskandrian yesterday. We talked about books, writing, and her first novel Motherest which I definitely recommend. This coming-of-age story explores the dynamics of complex relationships... read full article

It's a Marvel and a Wonder I Liked It

November 25, 2015 | The Crew

  My wife and I just spent the weekend going through all of our books, getting rid of the ones we’ll never read again, the grad-school textbooks we never read in the first place, the... read full article

Hollow Fruits and Spiritual Totems: A Review of Gold Fame Citrus by Clair Vaye Watkins

October 04, 2015 | The Crew

  Disregarding weather reports of temperatures reaching 102º, I strapped on my pack and started out on the Tuxachanie Trail in Stone County, Mississippi, for a night in the woods with a flask of rum... read full article

Haiku Review: 100 Years of Solitude

July 28, 2015 | The Crew

Our haiku reviewer, Anonymous, treats us to a poetic appraisal of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez classic.     I must disclose: This Is my very favorite Book. Ever. La verdad.   Generations of Buendias fall... read full article

Armada: Sci-Fi, but Accessible

July 21, 2015 | The Crew

  I had a conversation with a friend the other night about his wife’s laundry list of problems with America—rampant consumer culture, disconnection from the land, inability to live harmoniously in diverse communities, Walmart, etc.... read full article

Ready Player One: An Adventure in New Antiques

July 14, 2015 | The Crew

[Ready Player One has been reviewed here before, but I thought I’d give it another look since Ernest Cline’s new book, Armada, comes out today. I’ll be reviewing it within the week, but until then... read full article

Throwback Review: Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye

June 17, 2015 | The Crew | 1 Comment

Anthony Vacca takes us back to 1953 and the hard-boiled world of dames and detectives. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler When it comes to Raymond Chandler’s novels starring the smart-ass, misanthropic PI Phillip Marlowe,... read full article

Haiku Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

June 02, 2015 | The Crew

It's an oldie but a goodie, and here's your Anonymous Haiku Review of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.     Wellington has a Garden fork in his left side. Pretty... read full article

Walking to Hollywood by Will Self

May 19, 2015 | The Crew

This week's review of Will Self's Walking to Hollywood comes from Anthony Vacca: author, librarian, and director of Write Club at Hoover Library.     Will Self is a little known novelist this side of the... read full article

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

May 11, 2015 | The Crew

This weeks review of Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning comes to us from Cassia Kesler, mother of two boys and a freelance writer. She and her husband Scott live in Birmingham. Her favorite activities include lying on the... read full article

Haiku Review: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

May 04, 2015 | The Crew

This week our Haiku Reviewer, Anonymous, tackles Americanah.     Ifemelu is Letting her hair go nat'ral. Americanah.   It's race, not color That limits us, separates Us. We made it up.   Black, White,... read full article

An Anti-Review of an Anti-Memoir: A Field Guide to Tom Robbins' Tibetan Peach Pie

April 27, 2015 | The Crew

  It’s impossible for me to write about Tom Robbins without getting personal. I’ll get to Tibetan Peach Pie, but bear with me briefly.   Throughout my childhood Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume,... read full article
View More Posts

Login

Lost your password?