It’s hard to know what to possibly write about this book. It was brutal and painful and heartbreaking. It was also beautiful. It was also deeply powerful, and affirming, and fierce. Gay’s honesty and vulnerability were astounding–I can’t think of another memoir in which a writer has so surely laid herself bare. Gay’s writing is sharp, clean, and direct. She does not sugarcoat or deny or hide or cheapen her story by turning into something neat and triumphant with a happy, easy ending. Instead, with grace and anger and courage and compassion and wit, she simply and eloquently tells the truth. It is this extraordinary truth-telling, that, for me, elevated the book into the realm of the extraordinary. Gay does not offer empty hope–she freely admits that she continues to struggle with her body and self-image. Her story is not over. This sort of honesty is rare in memoir, and it is the sort of honesty we need more of, because it’s what allows us to fully see each other, hear each other, understand each other.
This is a memoir about rape and trauma, about Gay’s experience with her body, with fatness, with living in a world that despises and reviles “unruly bodies”. It is not easy or pleasant to read, but every sentence is worthwhile. It’s a book that will stay with me a long time; and one that I’ll press into the hands of everyone I know.