“I don’t know how I let things get so out of control, but I do.” These words, repeated a few times in Roxane Gay’s memoir, hold the tension of this important work. The tension is the push and pull between strength and vulnerability, courage and fear, reality and illusion, knowledge and confusion. This tension is where the author lives. “…here is my heart, what’s left of it. Here I am showing you the ferocity of my hunger.” I admire this stance. I like how Gay, in a world that adores happy endings and experiences neatly dissected for meaning, “went there,” showing the pain and frustrations she continues to endure. She isn’t afraid to admit the story is ongoing. But hope is present in her life, in tiny glowing balls that remind her she is not totally in darkness: she is loved, her work is affecting lives, she is seeking the geographic place her heart most wants to call “home.” For this reason, the fact of its clear-eyed and difficult truthfulness, I believe this book will do more for more people than a truckload of all those happy ending books could ever do. Gay says this was a hard book to write. I am glad she managed to do it.

Photo by Eva Blue