Goodreads Monday – Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part,  simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.  Be sure to check out Lauren’s blog and link back to add your own links!

Today the book I’m going to show off is: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

 

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Published June 13th 2017 by HarperCollins

 

Goodreads Description:

From the bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself

“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

My thoughts:

I can’t wait to get my hands on HUNGER. Since reading her collection of short stories in DIFFICULT WOMEN, I’ve been a fan of Roxane Gay. I also want to read BAD FEMINIST in the near future.

As someone who has struggled with some of the same issues as the author, I feel like HUNGER is a book that I need to read. I’m trying to decide whether I want to read the book or listen to the audio. The audio-book is narrated by Roxane Gay and I feel like it will add to the experience, but of course I also like having the physical book so I can tab pages or parts that I really like.

I’ve read some excellent reviews of this book which makes me want to read this even more.

Have you read this book yet? If so, what did you think?

 

 

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Review – What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

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What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Published September 22, 2015 by Harper

5 Stars!!!

I thought that this was a fantastic book. It does contain difficult subject matter that can be difficult to read at times, but it also has a great story-line that kept me interested while making me think. Honestly, it consumed me, if  I wasn’t reading the book,  I was thinking about it or talking about it.

Though it took a little while to get going once it did, I hated putting it down. I’m not sure what it is but I just really connected to this book.

“It’s okay, it’s going to be fine.”

Those are the words Ben says to his best friend Kate after she accidentally kicks him in the head when they are playing soccer at age five. Even though he’s the one hurt, he wants to console Kate as she cries because she’s hurt him. When he says these words to her again it’s over ten years later and for an entirely different reason. But still he wants to console Kate.

Kate Weston and Ben Cody have been friends for many years. There was a short time in between where they drifted apart, but a high school project brought them back together again.

The book takes place in Coral Sands, Iowa. A small town with a HUGE focus on High School Athletics, especially high school basketball. The basketball players are worshiped, treated like heroes. These boys can do no wrong in this towns eyes…can they?

Ben is hoping for a full basketball scholarship. Since his parents divorce his mother has been consumed with couponing, filling their garage with stacks and stacks of recent sale items. He’s concerned about his mom but he also wants to move far away from all of it. Kate is also an athlete and plays on the high school soccer team.

The book starts with Kate watching an old soccer video that her dad took of her and Ben when they were five years old. But as she says the video doesn’t show you everything. It’s one of the common themes throughout the book.

“Nothing is exactly as it appears. The closer you look, the more you see.”

Kate wakes up with a horrible hangover after a party at basketball player, John Doones house. She doesn’t have much of a memory of the night before. Her friend Rachel sends her a couple of pictures of Kate looking worse for wear after a few too many drinks.

One of the pictures is of her classmate and childhood friend Stacey passed out over a basketball players shoulder…

The next day at school four high school students are brought up on charges of assault. News travels quickly as the media descends on the small town. Everyone is immediately divided in their opinions on the “Coral Sands rape case.”

At first I was angry as it seemed like no one wanted to speak up. But then Kate surprised me, asking the tough questions that almost no one else would ask. Talking to herself telling herself not to get involved but she was consumed with questions. She wants to know what really happened after she left the party? Who was still there? What did they see? Where was Ben?

But will she be able to handle the answers to all of her questions?

Many of us remember the movie Grease. The catchy tunes that we sang along with. Over the years I’ve thought about the plot of the movie and the songs and this book really reminded me of some of those feelings. The lyrics to “Summer Loving” especially;

“Tell me more tell me more did you get very far? Tell me more tell me more like does he have a car? Or ” tell me more tell me more was it love at first sight? tell me more tell me more did she put up a fight?”

The author also uses lyrics from current songs peppered in throughout the story, in the background. For example at a dance or in the car when the teens are driving….

“you can’t have my heart, and you won’t use my mind, but… Do what you want with my body do what you want with my body”

and

“That fairy-tale ending with a knight in shining armor, She can be my sleeping beauty, I’m going to put her in a coma…”

Lyrics to popular songs that I’ve even sang myself without really thinking.

The media with their victim blaming and boys will be boys crap! It makes me crazy angry. How does this still go on? Things like:

The victim and the accused were all drinking
The victim was dressed provocatively
The victim had a troubling history
The victim had a single mother who was never home

Oh but the accused? The media says:

“all four were members of the top ranked high school basketball team. These young men are examples of fine sportsmanship and have rallied the community despite the difficult economy. They deserve the respect and privacy as the truth is figured out”.

But not just the media. Some of the other students were just as bad if not worse…

“All I’m saying is there are rules. You don’t get wasted. You don’t take off your top. You don’t flirt with raging drunks. You don’t dress like a slut. You have to play by the rules. If you don’t, this is what happens.”

Sometimes, especially when I see females blaming the victim I wonder if part of the reason is because they are scared. “If it can happen to them it can happen to me.” But some think it won’t happen to them because “I’m not like her….I wouldn’t break the rules.”

I was really impressed with this book and this author. The tough questions Kate asked and the tough decisions she had to make. I think this book will stay with me for a long time.

Review – He Said / She Said by Erin Kelly

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He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

Published June 6th 2017 by Minotaur Books

 

4.5 Stars!

When I read the description for He Said/She Said sometime last year, I knew it was a book that I had to read. I was positive I was going to like it. However, with all of the hype I started to worry that I was expecting too much. Over a year later I finally had my hands on it and was excited to start reading.

The book opens with two women standing in a restroom, side by side at the sinks in front of the mirror. They are trying to avoid looking at each other. Both are wearing black. We don’t know if this is past or present. Who are these two women? They finally lock eyes in the mirror and both wonder…


“How did it come to this? How did we get here? How will it end?”

London March 2015: We meet Laura first. She tells us about London and how she didn’t choose to live there, but loves it now. They live in a bustling part of London which gives her and her husband what they need….anonymity.

Laura is pregnant and Kit is going out-of-town to see the latest eclipse. Laura is very anxious but wants Kit to enjoy himself. She knows he would stay if she asked. In some ways Kit’s glad to be traveling alone, and that he doesn’t have to worry about Laura’s safety too. He’s been protecting her from the fallout of what happened on Lizard Point for so long and he will do whatever it takes to keep it that way.

“I’m about to leave my pregnant, over-medicated, anxious wife to travel across the seas to another country where there is every chance the woman who nearly destroyed us will be waiting for me.”

Kit is an eclipse chaser. Eclipses have been a part of his life since he was a young boy. At age twelve he saw one of the greatest eclipses ever…. and since then he has devoted his life to recapturing that experience.

1999 Lizard Point – They had been together for only six months when it happened. An eclipse festival. Basking in the afterglow of her first eclipse, Laura almost misses the purse laying on the ground. Kit heads off to see if anyone has lost a purse. Laura sees that the purse must have spilled as there are some coins scattered on the ground.

“We dropped hands and it was the last time everything was perfect”

As Laura rounds a corner she comes a horrifying scene. Who and what she sees changes the lives of everyone involved.

This was quite a thought-provoking read. Told from both Kit and Laura’s POV. It takes place over more than seventeen years.

This novel had me constantly asking myself what I would do in similar situations. If I came upon a scene like Laura, what would I do? Would I do what she did? Would I freeze?

I wasn’t just questioning myself about that moment but so many of the other decisions made by the characters over the course of the novel. It’s so easy to say I would do what’s “right” but do we always know for certain what is right? And would I make the same decision today as I would have fifteen years ago? With all of the knowledge gained with age and experience? It’s hard to say…

With great twists and an engrossing story-line, “He Said/She Said” was a compelling and addictive read that I really enjoyed. While I was definitely interested from the very start, it was a bit of a slow burn, but I’m glad I stuck with it. There is a lot of talk of eclipses which I wouldn’t have thought I would be interested in. However, I soon found myself googling eclipse pictures along with some of the phenomena like “Shooting corona”, and “The diamond ring effect”.

Like any other novel, this may not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. A story of betrayal, lies, relationships, trauma, guilt, and loyalty. He Said/She Said checked all the boxes for me. It was a great read that I highly recommend.

Thank you, Minotaur Books and NetGalley for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Throwback Thursday – Don’t Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is: Don’t Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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Don’t Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Published September 29, 2011 by Black Swan Books Ltd

 

Goodreads Description:

Sometimes a child knows better…

Grace
Ten-year-old Grace knows that her mum loves her, but her mum loves drugs too. And there’s only so long Grace can fend off the ‘woman from the county’ who is threatening to put her into care. Her only hope is…

Billy
Grown-man Billy Shine hasn’t been out of his apartment for years. People scare him, and the outside world scares him even more. Day in, day out, he lives a perfectly orchestrated silent life within his four walls. Until now. . .

The Plan
Grace bursts into Billy’s life with a loud voice and a brave plan to get her mum clean. And it won’t be easy, because they will have to confiscate the one thing her mum holds most dear . . . they will have to kidnap Grace.

 

My thoughts:

This was such a wonderful read.  I’m a huge fan of Catherine Ryan Hyde, and “Don’t Let Me Go” was one of the books that started it all. Her books always evoke a wide variety of emotions in me. I can be laughing one moment and crying the next but always enjoying the story.

I read this novel a few years ago. I thought that the characters were great and very well-developed. My favorite was Grace. I fell in love with her almost instantly. The kind of character that’s hard to forget. Actually most of the characters in this book are unforgettable.

This was a friend’s book that I happened to pick up. I read a few pages and asked if I could borrow it. I went home that night and read it from start to finish.

I can’t wait to read more from Catherine Ryan Hyde. I highly recommend this novel!