Updated: Jan 30, 2020
AUTHOR: Roxane Gay
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins Publishers
PUBLISHED DATE: June 13, 2017
*This is the first selection of the Hype Lit Book Club
So vulnerable, and honest, and hard. To be honest - this first book club meeting could either be the absolute best or the absolute worst. Gay writes tenderly and honestly about a subject most women, probably could - or would - never: her body.
She talks about the pressure society puts on women's bodies...pressure not to be unruly, to be disciplined and consumable to the male gaze. How this pressure seeps into the medical community, families, work culture, and romantic relationships - particularly her doctors, her family, her highly visible work culture, and her more private intimate relationships, often mired in abuse. If you are triggered by sexual abuse, Gay describes being gang raped when she was 12 years old, and how this crime informed the way she thought about herself, the narrative she created for her body, and the drastic tactics she took to never be put in a similar situation again. To say I was deeply affected is an understatement. Gay is so raw in describing, not only her abuse but details the pain and limitations of her body, along with some of her most embarrassing moments - y'all - this book goes somewhere beyond brave into places so real and dark, I might need more than a glass of wine to get through this first book club meeting!
I listened to the audiobook, read by Gay herself. I laughed, cried, and related to much of it. (In every memoir I've read, everyone's twenties are a f*cked up mess, and Gay's is particularly spectacular!) This is a stunning memoir, and one that I hope will challenge how we view our own bodies, how we view and treat one another's bodies, and force us to acknowledge the hunger that exists in us all.
Recommendation: Required. You really should read this book. It ain't easy, but it's worth it.
Audience: Grown Folks