Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hunger- Jackie Morse Kessler

So the basic premise is . . . an anorexic teen girl becomes Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Yeah, I know.  Totally guaranteed not to suck.
Anyhow, Lisa decided that since she's having trouble getting as thin as she wants to be, she should overdose on Lexapro in hopes of killing herself (Lexapro generally doesn't work for that, in case you were wondering.  But I still wouldn't recommend it). So then, Death shows up and offers her the job of being Famine, and for some reason, she decides to take him up on the offer, even though it's not a job she gets a paycheck for and can't exactly put it on her resume.
However, she does get a horse, and there are plenty of travel benefits, but  generally only gets to visit places in which people are starving.
Even though she has this 'great' new job, she still lives her ho-hum suburban life and keeps trying to lose weight, and of course her whole eating disorder issue does get in the way.  Her old best friend called her anorexic, so of course she now hates her, because in Lisa's mind, anorexic girls are thin, and she is fat (she must have missed the lecture on anorexia which states that even though anorexic people are skinny, they still think they're fat).  Her new best friend is bulimic, and Lisa is convinced that this chick is in control of her life, even though her parents and her boyfriend don't particularly like her.
But by playing the role of Famine, Lisa is exposed to the rest of the world, which is very different from her American suburban life.  She also discovers the power she has and how she can make life better or worse for
pretty much anyone, even the other Horsemen.
The only other book I personally have read which has an anorexic teen as the protagonist is Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls. Hunger is very different from this book, since the protagonist in Wintergirls never really sees the rest of the world and how hunger can affect other people. While Wintergirls is more realistic, seeing as there is no paranormal element, just a hallucinating anorexic teenager girl, Hunger is still very relevant.  Because Lisa can see how starvation affects people around the world and can lead to War, Death, and Pestilence, it gives her a new perspective on her own life. 
Kessler admits to having been bulimic for a period of time, which certainly gives her an edge in writing this book.  The descriptions of the eating disorders are detailed and do not hold anything back.  Though the book is not very long, it is still very effective, meaningful, and entertaining.
Oh, and by the way, a portion of the proceeds from this book will go to The National Eating Disorders Association to help and support those suffering from any eating disorder. So you really ought to go buy it.  It comes out October 18th, but of course you can always pre-order it.

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