Welcome to the Refinery29 Book Club! Each month five members of the team will read a book that has everyone talking, before sharing our thoughts and feelings with you. Join in the conversation or recommend a book for next month in the comments below.
Roxane Gay often writes about the personal and the political, but this novel has been lauded as her most feminist yet. The writer, professor, editor and commentator is loved for her blisteringly honest words, and Hunger delves even deeper into the complicated, excruciating aspects of one's mind. A memoir that reads like a stream of consciousness, Gay looks at how her body came to be the size, weight and shape it is now. She maps her body out in two halves – before and after her rape – but her relationship with food, her family, and her public and private selves are not so simple.
Before most people had had a chance to read Gay's new memoir, the controversy had begun. Ahead of speaking on an Australian news website's podcast, Gay had made some particular requests, which the publisher then felt appropriate to disclose in the episode's description on iTunes. A clear breach of confidence, the whole incident made clear just how unsure people are of discussing others' fatness. Gay's very existence proves this – how people who love her, people who want to hurt her, people who don't know her, judge, treat, and act towards a body that is unfamiliar to them.