Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Publisher: Harcourt Graphia
Released: October 2010
Hunger is an incredibly unique novel that combines an “issue” theme (eating disorders) with fantasy. Jackie Morse Kessler’s inventive idea originally seemed a bit forced, but towards the end of the novel I began to fully appreciate her creativity.
Hunger’s protagonist, Lisa, wasn’t exactly a character I felt too connected with; she just didn’t seem fully fleshed out to me. Likewise, Death and the other Horsemen were lacking in character, too. Lisa frequently makes commentary that makes it seem like she knows Death quite well, but their relationship seemed almost nonexistent.
Though the characters in Hunger were nothing to get too excited about, Jackie Morse Kessler’s portrayal of eating disorders was. The scenes where Lisa’s Thin voice speaks to her and the scenes involving Lisa’s bulimic friend were so raw and horrifying. Kessler does not baby the reader at all, which I found very impressive.
Also impressive was the author’s connection between anorexia and Famine, a Horseman of the Apocalypse. Lisa learns how to suck the life out of things (and occasionally people) and in turn give that life back to something else that needed it more. I loved the positive spin on Famine’s legend; it give the book a hopeful undertone.
Overall, Hunger was a quick read that tackled a whole lot in its 180 pages. Though I found the characters lacking, the creativity of the concept outshined any grievances I had with the book. I’m definitely looking forward to Rage, the next story in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series.