Book: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Published October 2010 by Harcourt Graphia|177 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library
Series: Riders Of The Apocalypse #1
“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?
So…I really like the idea of an anorexic 17-year-old as Famine, but the actual book? Not so much. I wanted to like it a lot more than I did.
Let’s start with what I did like about Hunger. I really liked the scenes where we see Lisa struggle with her weight and the hold that her Thin voice has on her. I also found myself liking some of the scenes at the end, where Lisa is Famine, and what it’s like to be in other parts of the world. With this book, you really are in the mindset of someone who is anorexic, and the book does a really great job at showing that.
But the Famine and Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse elements? Those didn’t work for me at all…mostly because they didn’t make a lot of sense.
So, it seems like Lisa had to become Famine in exchange for Death letting her live, but that just left me with so many questions. Is that how it works for all of the Horsemen, or just Lisa? And if that’s how one becomes one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, then how would it work if Death dies? Lisa has trouble deciding if she wants to live or die, and kind-of-sort-of-but-not-really accepts the post of Famine, and then decides she doesn’t want it, and everything is magically okay because she’s seen how horrible it is that some people have to go without food, and so she decides she needs help with her eating disorder…it is an interesting idea, and it is a different way to show what it might be like to be anorexic. But to just reject it and go back to her own life, like nothing’s happened? I wanted from the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse thing.
Because, honestly? I’m not completely sure what the point of that arc was. Is it really bringing about the apocalypse, or is it just a tool to highlight different issues people struggle with? I couldn’t get a sense of the overall purpose of the series with this book, and I really think the book needed more about it, because it definitely felt like something was missing as far as that goes.
And even though the scenes where we see Lisa struggle with anorexia were done really well, something about it felt really cold and clinical to me. Only one person seemed to pick up on the fact that something was going on with Lisa, and it wasn’t until she said something about it that anything actually happened. I wish we saw more of Lisa, and the story behind why she became anorexic.
2 stars, just because I think the idea of Famine as a 17-year-old anorexic is a really interesting concept. I think the Horsemen Of The Apocalypse aspect could have been done better (and it was sort of confusing and not explained well), and Lisa as an anorexic could have been less cold.