Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Hunger
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Publisher: Graphia (HMH)
Paperback, 174 pages
Date Published: October 18, 2010
Description (Taken from 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?
Lisabeth Lewis’ life as an anorexic girl in denial, slowly killing herself, could have easily made Hunger and issues book, but it’s so much more than that. Kessler’s writing is haunting and terrifying in its blunt telling, yet entertaining at the same time. Although short in length, the book packs quite a punch. Kessler makes the reader think, feel, and hurt with Lisa. We know the depths of her hunger and how that little voice inside her head is beating her down.

And it is so sad that anyone ever feels that way. Because they shouldn’t. We shouldn’t. Yet we do.

Lisa’s role as Famine leads her to learn more about that voice in her head, about the hunger that plagues the world, and about how to fight for life. All this can be heavy and some of the descriptions even made me nauseas, but I loved the book nonetheless. Kessler writing is raw, but beautiful at the same time. She grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you until you wake up and pay attention – that’s how jarring some scenes are.

Heavier moments are broken by the other Horsemen, War, Pestilence, and Death. War brings attitude, Death brings such morbid humor, and Pestilence becomes quite the teacher. I’ve read many reviews that gush about Death, but it was Pestilence who glued me to the page. His scene, while not funny like many of Death’s appearances, made me think.

Hunger is a great book, no doubt about that. Difficult to read at times? Yes. Entertaining? Yes. But more than anything else, it’s the message behind the story of Famine that got to me. I implore you to read this book, but don’t stop there. Devour it, soak it in, and read the author’s note because even though the 174 pages of fiction got to me, it was the author’s note that tied it all up and hit me the hardest.

Opening line: Lisabeth Lewis didn’t mean to become Famine. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: “Thou art Famine, yo,” Death said. “Time to make with the starvation.” ~pg. 49
And another one:
This wasn’t incessant appetite or some internal appeal to be fed that she could ignore. This was a tortured beast bellowing, scrabbling toward either survival or surrender.
This was unbearable. ~ pg. 97
A must read - 4.5
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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5 comments:

Melissa said...

I've seen SO many bad reviews for this one, but I loved it, and I'm glad to see you did, too! I thought it was raw and powerful...plus it was hella original! :)

The Slowest Bookworm said...

Hi, I just found your blog whilst hopping around. I love your name and header :-)

I'm so glad you liked this book. I just ordered it about an hour ago and would have been growling if I'd read a bad review right now lol.

Shannon the BookStalker said...

Glad you enjoyed it! I didn't love it quite as much as you, but I definitely agree about the authors note. Her story was very powerful!!!

brandileigh2003 said...

I agree- powerful and unique read!
By the way your blockquotes look great.

~The Book Pixie said...

I got an ARC of this from a trade I did with another blogger and your review makes me so glad I chose Hunger to trade for. It sounds like such a powerful read and I'm really looking forward to it!

~Briana :D

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