“Our Enraging, Beautiful, Hungry Bodies”

A great review of Roxane Gay’s Hunger, by Keah Brown.

For most of my life, that fear of people has kept me from really living, from feeling free. Even now, with my newfound like for my body, I still tense up when I catch people staring. I still have to actively keep negative thoughts at bay when I hear their snide comments and muffled laughter. I live differing versions of my graduation ceremony if not daily, weekly, and if not weekly, monthly…

… I was particularly appreciative of the way in which Gay told the story of her body in a circular narrative, adding in memories and moments that pushed it along but also reminded the reader what we’ve been told already. It works because that is what life is: a series of moments, both big and small, good and bad, that we keep going back to, that shape us and influence our decisions whether we want them to or not

… There is both comfort and loneliness to being invisible. My own comfort lies in having convinced myself that invisibility is better than the questions and the stares, even though invisibility doesn’t grant me any peace of mind. Invisibility allows people to see right through me, but they still find ways to broadcast their discomfort. In Hunger, Gay shows us the limits of invisibility. She describes how she was often the punching bag in her past relationships. She tells of a time when she got her makeup done to impress a partner, only to have him tell her how she might further improve her appearance. There were partners who cheated and made her feel lesser. Still, she found herself hungering for these relationships, reciprocating the interest of the partners who pursued her first, even if her own interest wasn’t initially there.

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