Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010
3.5 out of 5
"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 Apocolypse?
Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home--her constant battle with hunger and the 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 awesome new power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power--and the courage to fight her own inner demons?
The approach to the topic is interesting and turns a problem novel into a fantasy novel. It's a great technique that makes the issue of anorexia manageable.
Even if a reader has no experience with an eating disorder they can relate to this novel because of Lisa's "thin voice." It's safe to say that everyone has a voice. It could be a thin voice, the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, the voice that says the truthful answer when we speak the lie. In every case, the voice is there.
There are other issues sprinkled in the novel as well. Lisa's relationships with her mother and father are sketchy as well as the relationship with her boyfriend.
The tense occasionally felt off and I found myself rereading passages in a few places. Third person can be tricky (as I've experienced in my own writing).
I tried to read this shortly after it came out, but wasn't able to get very far. I'm very glad I gave it another try. Great title. I'm looking forward to Rage.
Disclosure: I borrowed this title from my local library.