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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Release Date: October 18, 2010
Rating: 3 STARS
E-ARC provided by Netgalley for a honest review. 
I received no compensation and my opinions are my own.
SUMMARY (from Amazon)

"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 fight her own inner demons? 

A wildly original approach to the issue of eating disorders, Hunger is about the struggle to find balance in a world of extremes, and uses fantastic tropes to explore a difficult topic that touches the lives of many teens.
Lisabeth Lewis is an anorexic 17 year old who has just learned that she is to be Famine, one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. As typical with many girls with eating disorders she is all about control. Her mom is a very controlling absent mother who wants everything perfect and her dad drinks to cope with everything so he does not notice the problem.
Lisa has a boyfriend named James who cares about her deeply. He wants to help her but she sees it as betrayal. Her best friend Suzanne had tried to approach her about this also and Lisa ended this friendship and instead became friends with a girl named Tammy who is bulimic. Since they share a secret she sees this as a great friendship.
photo from New World Encyclopedia
Lisa decides that she wants to die. She is about to kill herself when a messenger shows up with a package containing an old fashion scale telling her that she is the Black Rider. When she wakes up the next morning she thinks it is all a dream until she notices the scale sitting on the table that only she can see. When she looks outside she sees her Black Steed (who funny enough just wants to eat pralines). And so begins her adventure as Famine and her fight for her life as she must choose between living and dying.
Very interesting read. I thought it would be more about the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse but it was half that and half about dealing with the inner turmoil of anorexia. Since the author herself dealt with an eating disorder all the inner dialogue (you're so fat) is very real. The whole describing Tammy's purging was a little graphic for the young adult but maybe it is something that should be read to understand how horrible this is to do to oneself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from author's website)
photo from author's website
Jackie Morse Kessler grew up in Brooklyn, NY, with a cranky cat and overflowing shelves filled with dolls and books. Now she’s in Upstate NY with another cranky cat, a loving husband, two sons, and overflowing shelves filled with dragons and books (except when her sons steal her dragons). She has a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature, and yet she’s never read any Jane Austen (with or without zombies). She also has a master’s degree in media ecology. (The living study of technology and culture. Which is cool, but she still can’t figure out how to use Tweetdeck.)

Jackie spends a lot of time writing, reading, and getting distracted by bright and shiny new ideas. (She just came up with a new idea right now.) She has a weakness for chocolate and a tendency to let her cat take over her office chair.