Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
by Roxane Gay
Harper

Roxane Gay has a message for airlines that encourage obese passengers to buy two tickets: train employees how to deal with two boarding passes and the empty seat. This should be simple, but, she writes, “it becomes a big production”, which is further complicated because only authorised seat-belt extenders can be used (using her own would minimise humiliation).

Her memoir does not make easy reading. Sentences begin “As a fat woman” and she admits: “I am still very fat.” But this is not a book about dieting: it’s about living in a body 135-180kg over­weight. Most difficult to read – and to write, she admits – was why she made herself morbidly obese. Gay attributes this to having been gang raped at 12, and believing that if she made herself big, her body would be safe. Now in her 40s, Gay says she is no longer the scared girl she was, and hunger has taken a different course. Her truths make her uncomfortable, too.