Claiming Space

Roxane Gay talks with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air about her new book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (HC/Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), proving the least interesting thing about her is her much-noted size.

In a smart and candid talk she tells Gross it is a book that felt necessary to write for the very fact it was the book she wanted to write least, “I was just dreading writing the book” she says, “while still feeling like this was a necessary book to write.”

Through the book she offers readers a story of her body as it is now and “what her body had endured” when she was young; she was gang raped at 12, betrayed and set up for a planned attack by a boy she trusted and a group of his friends.

She goes on to talk about her life now, about being fat, and the ways society is threatened by what she calls an “unruly body.”

Reviews are very strong. USA Today calls it “a thing of raw beauty” and writes “This wrenching work … is a yearning to be unburdened of secrets … Gay takes us on a journey in which we learn what it is to exist in a society that accuses you of taking up too much room, even as it refuses to yield a place for you.”

Literary Hub‘s Book Marks rounds up more reviews, many are raves such as the LA Times, which writes it is “a bracingly vivid account of how intellect, emotion and physicality speak to each other and work in tireless tandem to not just survive unspeakable hurt, but to create a life worth living and celebrating.”

The Atlantic says the book is “arresting and candid. At its best, it affords women, in particular, something so many other accounts deny them—the right to take up space they are entitled to, and to define what that means.”

It is currently #28 on Amazon’s Top 100 and has been moving upwards since its publication date. Holds are high in a number of libraries we checked, some topping 5:1.

One Response to “Claiming Space”

  1. Joy Jones Says:

    I read Roxanne’s book and it was heartbreaking. I wish she could find some peace in her life but am thankful to her for sharing her experience(s). But many of the issues she brings up, large men deal with too.