The inside flap of Roxane Gay’s new memoir tells us right out of the gate that this is a searing and intimate memoir. They have that right. It’s quite possibly the most frank and outspoken work of non fiction I’ve come across to date.
I discovered Gay a few years ago while reading a review of her novel ” An Untamed State.” Ron Charles was that reviewer, and he loved her disturbing book. I couldn’t take my eyes from the pages; it was like watching a train wreck. As I read the novel that takes place in Haiti, I began wondering how Gay was able to bring this story so realistically to the page. And then I guessed that something awful had also happened to her…
In recent years Roxane Gay
is garnering the attention she well deserves. She’s a damned fine writer; of fiction and non fiction. I devour her work. It is disturbing and honest. It is up front and in your face. This new work is about how and why she became the person she is. Why is she overweight? And she will tell you honestly. And you will be horrified. It will be hard to read. But it’s her real story. It was incredibly difficult for her to write this book. It’s harsh. What she endured is beyond belief for many of us. Has she overcome it? Not really. But it’s a work in progress.
Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows what a trial it can be. I grew up a thin young woman. But over the years I’ve put on pounds that I struggle to rid myself of. I know I am not alone. Food is not like other things that can be given up. After all, we do have to eat. Gay’s weight is a problem because of trauma. I think many people have issues with food for various personal reasons that they will not speak of. I get that. I think this is an important book. My issues are not Roxane’s issues. But reading about how she has suffered and how she’s dealt with the pain is enlightening. She’s a wonderful writer. Memorizing. This is an important book.
This book is not for everyone. I know this. But you might want to take a good look at it. Roxane Gay is a voice to be reckoned with in the book world. And rightly so.
Roxane Gay is the New York Times bestselling author of “Bad Feminist.” She’s published by Harper Collins.