Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Source: Library; paperback 177 pages
"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.
My Rating: 4 stars ★★★★
I loved the concept of this book and thought that it was well executed. It is a great story about self-confidence and acceptance, without being preachy. I really enjoyed the way the author weaved light elements of fantasy together with the heavy issues of world hunger and eating disorders.
I was easily able to relate to Lisa’s character -not because I have an eating disorder, but because at times I have also heard/battled with that little self-deprecating voice in my head (what Lisa calls the "Thin voice") telling me that I need to lose five pounds, that I’m not good enough to apply for such-and-such program, etc– and I think that many other girls will be able to relate to the character on some level as well.
Also, I appreciated that the author included a short note at the end about her own personal experiences with eating disorders.
However, I did find one inconsistency that bothered me. Throughout the book, Lisa occasionally pops one or two of her mom’s antidepressant pills (specifically Lexapro), and then starts feeling calm and high. Now, don’t throw stones at me for being a science geek, but Lexapro as well as many other commonly known antidepressants make up a class of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs, for short) – and they simply don’t work the way that the author describes in the book. You can’t randomly pop one and instantly feel a high; in fact, they usually don’t come into full effect until 1-4 weeks after the person starts taking them (daily). I wish the author had spent just a little bit more time researching what she was writing about. The internet is a very useful tool – you can learn a lot from a quick Google search.