Source: My own personal copy.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: Already released.
My first thoughts when I started reading Hunger were about how beautifully written it was, and if you read my "It's Monday, What Are Your Reading?" posts you would have noticed that I said that right when I started the book. Jackie Morse Kessler has a gorgeous writing style, and it enthralled me from the first word. I was lucky enough to get an ARC copy of Rage from Thomas Allen and Son and as soon as I finished Hunger I dove right into Rage, I just cannot get enough of the glorious words that she writes. They're just gorgeous, and beautiful, and countless other positive adjectives. I also found these books incredibly addicting and quick. Hunger is a short book, it's under 200 pages, yet I thought that it packed quite a punch.
Hunger was filled with interesting characters, and a fascinating story line. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse, I'll be honest, it's a mythology that I've never heard of before, but now that I have, I am completely fascinated. I also loved the way that Jackie related Famine, of the four horsemen, to a girl with an eating disorder, and I loved how it was done in a way where I didn't feel like I was being forced to learn about eating disorders...I actually had to sit through a health class once where the girls were forced to do worksheets on eating disorders, while they boys learned about sex, so it was much appreciated that I didn't have go through that again. And in case you're still curious about that health class I took, yes I had a male health teacher, he also made us do worksheets on smoking, I was not impressed...but I'm getting off topic.
As I said, Hunger projected eating disorders, both bulimia and anorexia, in a way that I felt it was subtle yet descriptive enough to let the reader actually understand what Lisa (or Lisabeth), the main character, was going through. It helped show that eating disorders are a mental illness and that it wasn't by choice. Lisa had grown up in a situation where she was given little attention and felt like she needed to look perfect to receive praise. She saw herself as fat, even though she obviously wasn't, she even had a 'thin voice' as she called it who would tell her she was fat and also comment on how many calories everything was. I don't know if anyone else has ever had a friend go through this kind of experience, but I have and I thought that Jackie did an amazing job at portraying Lisa's actions as well as her family and friends reactions. Most people choose to turn a blind eye to eating disorders, the person with the problem especially, they don't see it as something that is wrong, for the most part they think it's healthy. I thought Jackie did an amazing job with this inside perspective.
I absolutely loved the other horsemen of the Apocalypse (Death, War and Pestilence)...okay War maybe not so much, but I did love the way she was described. Death is probably one of my favourite fictional characters now, and I will honestly admit that I think that Jackie wrote a very sexy Death, he's sarcastic and funny, and he sings like Kurt Cobain...when he wants to anyways. Death was the perfect comic relief, and I think he totally rocked this book. I also loved how Death's words affected Lisa, they gave her strength and helped her to grow. I will also admit that Pestilence was a creepy guy, but I really liked the short part that he had in Hunger, and I'm hoping he'll pop up again in Rage. War...that chick was *psycho* (I totally said this in a sing-songy voice, feel free to say it out loud, it's just not the same if you don't :P). That being said, she definitely fit how I would imagine the embodiment of war would be, especially since she's a horseman of the Apocalypse, that just makes me think of destruction and death...and boy did she like those things!
I also have to mention the horse, or Midnight, I never thought I would enjoy a horse's POV as much as I did in Hunger, now you might think that a horse's POV is weird, but I am telling you it...was...awesome!
If you can't tell by this review, I thought Hunger was an amazing story, and I loved it.
I admit that because this story does involve eating disorders, it might not be everyone, but I think that Jackie managed to make it so that it wasn't just about eating disorders. It was a story about a girl who happened to have an eating disorder, but that wasn't what defined Lisa. Lisa grew drastically throughout this book, she has struggles, she realizes that she isn't alone, and that she has control and that she is strong, and I think that is a message that we could all do to learn.
I'd love to hear your comments, have you read Hunger, is it on your To-Read list, or is it not your style? :)