Hunger by Roxane Gay details the author’s and the world’s relationship with her fat body and by extension all fat bodies. I’ve been reading Roxane Gay for a couple of years beginning with Bad Feminist – a title I was initially drawn to because of my ambivalence to labels or maybe my awareness there are few labels or designations I fully adhere to. But Hunger arrived at an interesting time in my life: I was away from home for a month spending July with my daughter as she finished up a research fellowship; I had just began sketching outlines for a collection of essays about my body, childhood trauma and how the strong blackwoman myth impacts the body; and I was keenly aware my body was sick and awaiting a referral to a surgeon for further evaluation that would, some weeks later, confirm cancer. I slipped into Hunger early one morning in the 2nd floor suite of an Inn overlooking Cape Cod Bay. I connected immediately. No body is policed more than the black woman body. The black woman body is all wrong: too big, too strong, too much muscle or too many soft folds, too dark, too loud, too inescapable, and monetized, and too great is the desire to capture, control, and at times, erase it. I sat in that suite that morning with the summer sun just outside my window staring at my sleeping daughter’s form. What does this world hold for her body? She is aware that the cheap running shorts from Target are viewed as provocative on her body so she restricts them to the dorm where “booty shorts” are less spectacle. I don’t admonish or encourage her choice. It is her body. She is a 20 year old assault survivor who chose a women’s college because she wanted a safe space where her body was not under constant dissection by the opposite sex. She is more aware of her body and its relationship to the world around it than I was at her age. Together we celebrate and laugh at and cheer on our bodies. We come from a long line of short, petite women with shapely backsides, “baby-making” hips, and ample bosoms: one community’s voluptuous is another one’s fat. Hunger came to me the year I contemplated returning to vegetarianism, the year I started the “plant based black girl” photo series – photos of us harvesting fruits and vegetables, cooking, picking, playing with and loving good whole foods. Hunger arrived just as I had began to feed my soul by responding to what my body needed. Hunger is stark. It is beautiful and sad and exciting and a little song. It’s self soothing without apology. This book came to me when I needed it most and I am better for it.