Thursday, December 09, 2010

Review: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Book Description via Goodreads:

“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?

Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jennifer Taber (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Lisabeth had issues with three things: food, weight and figure. Once you read the first statement, you might probably think that these three things are the usual concerns teenage girls. The word diet has long been stamped into my brain and through the years of hearing it from my classmates and friends, I have gotten used to the idea that in every minute of every hour, at least one girl was on a diet regardless of the kind. The idea of being on a diet was somewhat strange for me. I never diet. I am the kind of girl who would eat to my heart’s desire, no restrictions and no avoidance. I was blessed with super metabolism. Eating was a pleasurable and simple activity. When I was introduced to Lisabeth’s world, I realized that not all people were like me, not all people could eat to their hearts’ desires and not be upset with their figures. I began to understand what being anorexic meant.

The writing was beautiful, very descriptive, humorous and real. Kessler masterfully wrote about the effects of anorexia on all aspects of a human being, specifically a teenage girl, as well as to the close friends and family of the person. The “Thin” voice was a nice touch. It was the voice of the sickness, the one feeding discouraging thoughts into Lisa’s mind, the one pulling her deeper into the void of hunger.

Lisabeth as Famine was balanced. The job paved the way towards fighting against her eating disorder. In learning how to balance her work as Famine, Lisa learned to achieve balance in her life and to accept that she needed help. The travels around the world by Famine and Midnight were very vivid and portrayed the realities of two sides: of the developed countries and of the developing countries. The big difference between these two was shown through the concept of hunger – one of the world’s biggest problems (at least that is what I think.) The abundance and absence of food to satiate this human need let us appreciate what we have on our tables. Every piece of food wasted could have given a heavenly feeling to someone hungry.

The riders of the Apocalypse were very interesting characters. I liked Death particularly! There were so much odd happenings around them that I could not even start to piece everything together. The riders were mysterious and one of a kind. I wanted to know about their origins, if they were once human or if they were never human to begin with. To add to this wonder were their steeds. I love how they have personalities of their own, how Kessler gave them identity despite their animal nature.

Hunger is a well-written novel with vivid images, realistic portrayals and interesting characters, both human and not, who will entertain you. Thought-provoking and eye-opening. Hunger stands out with its message and story. This was a short read. I just wish there was more!



  1. I really have to read this one. It sound so interesting.

  2. I have this book out of the library--I'm really excited to start reading it now! Thank you for the review. :)

  3. Excellent review, Precious! I've been hearing a lot of affirmative reviews about Hunger, which means it really is good. I'm glad you liked it.

  4. Reminds me of that time when I had to go on a diet - I had to avoid meat and fruits for almost 3months - when I had gastritis. I still have it and am still on a diet, but not as strict. I don't get to eat all food I want which is so unfair because I'm a total glutton. But that aside, great review! I shall read Hunger so I can fully understand anorexic people.

  5. Can't wait to get my hands on it. Sounds fascinating.


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  6. I read this in one sitting via NetGalley on my computer, and I rarely make the effort to do that. HUNGER is worth it, and is one of 2010's finest releases. Not just for teens and those with food issues, it's a story with depth I won't soon forget. Though I am craving pralines.

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