Hunger Book Summary - Hunger Book explained in key points
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Hunger summary

A Memoir of (My) Body

4.2 (61 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

"Hunger" by Roxane Gay is a powerful memoir that explores the author's experiences with trauma, body image, and self-worth. It offers a compelling and insightful perspective on what it means to live in a body that is constantly scrutinized and judged by society.

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    Hunger
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    Roxane Gay had her life derailed by a violent and traumatic event.

    Roxane Gay was born to a family of Haitian-Americans who lived in Omaha, Nebraska. In her early years, Roxane was raised Catholic and believed that if she did well in school she could grow up to be a respected doctor.

    What she could never have expected was that a tragic act of violence would derail those plans and set her on a completely different course.

    When she was just 12-years-old, Roxane was raped by her boyfriend and a group of other local youths. The event was devastating on many levels: since Roxane had already been intimate with this boy, what she experienced was a heavy feeling of shame – as if the attack had been her fault for defying the values of her Catholic upbringing. As a result, she couldn’t bear the thought of telling her parents about the rape.

    So, she kept it to herself and continued to bury this secret deeper by overeating more and more food.

    In the year following the attack, Roxane was sent to a prestigious boarding school where, away from the watchful eyes of her parents, she could eat as much as she wanted. In her mind, food wasn’t just a way to punish her body; she believed that the more she ate, the bigger she’d get and therefore the less vulnerable she’d be to another attack.

    Roxane was already old enough to understand that fat women aren’t what society thinks of as desirable. So, as she quickly began to put on weight, part of her knew she was becoming sexually invisible to predatory men.

    For a while, Roxane continued playing the part of the obedient Catholic girl who was expected to become a doctor, and her good grades got her into the pre-med program at Yale University. But as she began her junior year, she couldn’t keep up the act any longer – so she dropped out of school to go and live with a potential partner she met online.

    At Yale, Roxane felt like she had to deny the reality of who she saw herself as being now: someone ruined. Unable to cope with this any longer, she was about to start a new chapter where she’d be treated as poorly as she felt.

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    What is Hunger about?

    Hunger (2017) is a personal, open-hearted account of what it’s like to live with a body that’s frowned upon by society.

    Hunger Review

    Hunger (2017) is a powerful memoir that delves into the complexities of body image, trauma, and self-worth, making it a book that is definitely worth reading. Here's why it stands out:

    • The raw honesty and vulnerability of the author's storytelling create a deep, emotional connection that resonates with readers on a profound level.
    • By chronicling her experiences with food, weight, and society's expectations, Roxane Gay offers a unique perspective on the intersection of culture and personal identity.
    • The book prompts critical self-reflection and challenges societal norms, making it a thought-provoking and eye-opening read that is anything but boring.

    Best quote from Hunger

    I am always paralyzed by self-doubt and mistrust.

    —Roxane Gay
    example alt text

    Who should read Hunger?

    • Victims of abuse and sexual violence
    • Students of psychology and social work
    • Anyone struggling with eating disorders

    About the Author

    Roxane Gay is a writer and associate professor of English at Purdue University. Her writing can often be found in the New York Times, where she’s a regular op-ed contributor. She is also the author of the bestsellers Bad Feminist and Difficult Women.

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    Hunger FAQs 

    What is the main message of Hunger?

    Hunger is a powerful memoir that examines prevailing societal attitudes towards body and self-image.

    How long does it take to read Hunger?

    Hunger requires varying amounts of time to read depending on the reader. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in under 15 minutes.

    Is Hunger a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Hunger is definitely worth reading. It offers a raw and honest exploration of personal experiences and sheds light on important societal issues.

    Who is the author of Hunger?

    Hunger is written by Roxane Gay.

    What to read after Hunger?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Hunger, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Becoming by Michelle Obama
    • Time and How to Spend It by James Wallman
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