Reading Response: Hunger

Roxane Gay says that writing Hunger was the most difficult thing she’s ever done. I was absolutely floored by what this must have taken – this willingness to share herself and her journey with us. She is vulnerable, and honest, and real. This book brought me to tears time after time; I was sad for her, glad for her, scared for her, heartbroken for her, empowered by her, encouraged by her.

When Roxane Gay was 12 years old, she endured life-altering violent trauma. That is her story to tell, and she does. What came after was a battle with herself and the outside world, an attempt to insulate and protect herself from future hurt. While that came in the form of overeating and disordered eating, it has also manifested itself in every relationship she’s had. But I didn’t walk away from this book with pity for Roxane – though her struggle has been unimaginable; I closed the book and felt. . .hopeful. For her, for myself, for anyone who might read her book and open their eyes a bit wider.

In her story, you may see a part of someone you know. Maybe yourself. Her experiences won’t be identical to ours, of course, but her challenges, her experiences, her struggles are shared with such a raw, blunt honesty that I will never forget them.

I always wonder what healing really looks like–in body, in spirit. I’m attracted to the idea that the mind, the soul, can heal as neatly as bones. That if they are properly set for a given period of time, they will regain their original strength. Healing is not that simple. It never is.


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