E-Book, 306 Pages
By: Roxane Gay
“I buried the girl I had been because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. She is still small and scared and ashamed, and perhaps I am writing my way back to her, trying to tell her everything she needs to hear.”
I have gone back and forth before I finally decided that I wanted to read this book. I will explain more on that later. This is my first time reading something by the author and Gay is an excellent writer. I just know that I will be reading more of her works in the future.
This is the author’s memoir about how she was raped when she was young and how that affected her weight and then how her weight affected everything. It is very raw and Gay is so brave for writing it. I feel this kind of books is a bit tricky to rate and review because anything negative would feel like an attempt to undermine the suffering of the author. However if you know me well, you know I am always honest in my reviews and I try to not affected by external factors!
I have to confess that I had always problems with my self image, I was never obese in the typical definition of the word. However, I can relate to many things said because mentally I was abused too specially as a kid. Now the writing of the book itself is great, Gay’s prose is very eloquent and emotional and I like that. On the other hand, it was repetitive more than once and because the book consists mostly of short essays, the flow was not always the best.
“I am weary of all our sad stories—not hearing them, but that we have these stories to tell, that there are so many.”
Now Gay has gone through something major when she was 12 years old and part of me think it should have been more focused on. The main reason that made me hesitant to picking this up is that I knew it will attack doctors and medicine and it did that. I am just tired of everyone thinking that doctors are those evil creatures that want to abuse them. Funnily enough, on the week I was reading this, I got two patients in my clinic, one a thin girl who had very high levels of cholesterol and she said it runs in the family and one who came to prepare for a bariatric surgery and her blood tests were excellent and I told her that. Obesity is a medical problem and when we advise patients to lose weight we do it for their own goods. I have worked in a hospital and in a clinic and I know people across all weights get sick but people with obesity do usually have more illnesses and worse prognosis, I am sorry if people do not want to hear that but it is the truth. BMI is not a holy number but it does give us an idea about patients and what they should do. People who lose weight end up happier and more confident and healthier. I have never ever seen anyone who regretted losing weight. I am a doctor and because our job implies that we should first do no harm, I will continue to do what is best for my patients. I felt Gay kind of ignored the root problem here which was the trauma caused by the event and with medical help, it may have been easier. I also learned that Gay went a bariatirc surgery in 2018 which is one year after publishing this book and you’re free to interpret that fact as you see fit!
“The bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.”
Summary: I think it is a well written book that could have been edited more well to flow better and be less redundant at times. I do appreciate her sharing all the hard things she went through but I did not like the medical aspects (Doctors do study many years for a reason) of the book. Overall, a very good book and I will read more of Gay’s books in the future!