Roxane Gay is the bold, Black, feminist auntie you never had. The New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and scholar made her mark on the sometimes homogeneous feminist movement, highlighting intersectional issues as a Black, queer woman that often get shoved under the social justice bed frame. She even spared her talents to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where she helped build the World of Wakanda in the 2016 book of the same name.
Gay approaches topics even she’s said she’d rather avoid, such as her body and experience with sexual assault at a young age, with grace that many of us can’t muster when filling out a birthday card. In addition to being an absolute riot on Twitter, with rich and hilarious commentary, Gay contributes to The New York Times op-ed section. Her most recent piece, posted last year, tackled the strangling hope that last year’s wave of Black Lives Matter protests brought her and many others.
Her newsletter, The Audacity, walks the line between a book lover’s dream and a feminist press haven, covering everything from the latest fiction release to the fragility of the human race. Something about Gay makes you want to listen again and again, until she’s trapped you in this mindset that anything can be changed for the better.
Gay’s writing makes you want to examine what you yourself want to avoid, and makes you ask why. She makes the frightening somehow tender, without pulling punches. If anyone on this spinning rock deserves to be listened to right now, for the sake of all of us, it’s Roxane Gay.
Gay’s novel Bad Feminist appears on numerous reading lists, yet her novel Hunger has fallen to the wayside somewhat. The Hunger novel is captivating as it is heartbreaking, documenting Gay’s relationship with her body from childhood on, and the toll it took on her well-being to scrutinize herself over the years.
This novel will challenge your perception of fatness, and your relationship to the “perfect body” seen nearly everywhere we look. Gay offers us a look into the wall she had built between herself and acceptance, and how she eventually tore it down. Her inspiring journey to acceptance offers comfort in a world of seemingly constant rejection of the self.
Though Gay described it as “by far the hardest book I’ve ever had to write,” it’ll be the easiest book by far to read, and ultimately, love.
FEATURED IMAGE CREDITS: AMAZON, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES