Friday, September 3, 2010

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 10:05 AM
Title: Hunger
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Available: 18 October 2010
Publisher: Graphia
Pages: 183 (ebook)
Price: $6.74 Book Depository $8.99 Amazon
Rating: 3.5/5
Synopsis: “Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.” 

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? 

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons? (Goodreads)

Initial Thoughts: I downloaded this book from Net Galley and read it on my Nook. I was taken with this book from the start. I love the cover, with the dark colors and the scrollwork. The blurb really grabs your attention as well. I love the idea of an anorexic girl being given the job of Famine. However, I've never read a book with an anorexic main character that didn't feel too preachy or unauthentic.

Review: The very best thing about this book was the main character. Lisa felt so very real. The way she justified what she was doing, her constant inner dialogue with The Thin Voice, and her reaction to being called out about her condition- everything was perfectly written. From the start, I was sure that the author must have had some personal experience with an eating disorder (she has a note at the end explaining that she did indeed suffer from bulimia for a while). It didn't feel preachy, or overly dramatic, like a lot of the books dealing with these issues can be. Reading about Lisa, you could almost understand why she was doing it. Her thought processes weren't 'THIN THIN THIN', they were tangled and intricate. The author showed you how she had slid slowly into anorexia, making it clear that this could happen to anyone in the right circumstances. I would recommend this to anyone who has an eating disorder or knows someone who does and wants to understand it. That being said, this story felt a bit too long. The core story was strong, but I feel that it would have worked better as a short story than it did as a novel. I loved the fantasy element, although I kept waiting for the author to reveal that it had just been a huge metaphor, or that she was hallucinating it all. This is supposed to be the first in a series, but I'm not sure how that's going to work out. Hopefully the other books will be able to keep the feeling of authenticity and add enough meat to the story to make it a full novel.

Quick Review: Hunger felt a bit long. I know that 200 pages isn't a huge amount, but it felt like there wasn't enough meat on the bones of this one (no pun intended). However, this is a must read for anyone dealing with, curious about, or trying to understand eating disorders. Lisa is one of the most realistic characters I've read lately.