Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Release Date: October 18, 2010
Publisher: Harcourt Graphia
Pages: 180 (Paperback)
Summary 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?
I'm not quite sure when I first heard about this book, but I know when I picked it up. It was on my 'drive 3 and a half hours to see Mindi Scott' trip last October. And I think I grabbed the only copy they had on the shelves, too. ;)
It's a very moving and powerful book, almost the same in terms of how Lisa Schroeder's Chasing Brooklyn hit me when I read it. It's a short book, less than 200 pages, but there's so much packed into it. The premise is incredible, turning a damaged and emotionally fragile anorexic teen girl into one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Linking her new position with her eating disorder is genius. It shoves her fragile state and link to starvation and hunger right into her face, as well as the reader's. As Famine, Lisa is forced to see what her eating disorder is doing to her, and how there are people in the world starving, but not because they choose to. It's incredibly thought provoking, thinking about hunger and food and starvation in different ways all over the world.
The book is gritty, which is good. Anorexia and other eating disorders don't need to be glamourized and treated as get thin quick solutions. The fact that is is so real, and mixes in the whole life and death aspect of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse idea, means the book might stick around in your head long after you read it.
I wasn't anorexic or bulemic in high school, but like most teen girls I did battle against my weight. This book was hard for me to read because it reminded me how much weight and appearance meant in high school, how often I thought about it. It sucks. Teen girls shouldn't have to spend every waking moment worrying about eating less and exercising more and throwing up and counting calories, but that's an area of high school and our teen years that, unfortunately, pops up and grabs hold of us.
If you want a character that starts off at rock bottom and learns to fight for her right to live, then you'll love Lisa and you'll love Hunger. I'm looking forward to the next book, Rage, about a girl who cuts herself.
So, a short review, but I'm not sure what else I can say about this book besides to not be surprised when it moves you. :)