Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hunger - Jackie Morse Kessler

Publisher: Graphia

Indiebound Summary:
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?

This slim book about a young girl with an eating disorder is anything but trite. Kessler approaches a been-done topic with an uncommon premise of a girl suffering from anorexic who becomes Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. A big, fat stamp of approval for the unique supernatural spin! The last time I remember anything being done about the Four Horsemen in pop culture was in one of the Charmed episodes. I have yet to see a YA book approach this until now. And this doesn't feature supernatural romance. Rather, Kessler uses the Horsemen as allegories of issues that people face. And for those who like series, Hunger is simply the start of four books.

Obviously, Famine is an analogy to Lisbeth as she struggles with anorexia. When she takes on the scales that represent Famine, she travels the world seeing people that indulge themselves to the point of gluttony as well as the reverse, the impoverished many that have barely anything to eat.

Kessler is an impressive storyteller, as she describes in detail the physical agony of not eating, the mental battle for control and the emotional distress of never being thin/pretty enough. Hunger is obviously about the destructive impact of eating disorders, but what makes this appealing is that Kessler never veers into a preachy tone. She simply tells a story about food issues and lets readers come up with their own conclusions.

And I have to say, as an international relations major, I love the incorporation of global food issues into Lisbeth's personal struggle.

Book Source: ARC borrowed from library group

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