Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Lisabeth's world is closing in on her. Her mother is distant, her father oblivious. Her boyfriend doesn't understand her. Her old best friend has accused her of being sick, being anorexic. Her new best friend is so controlled at binging and purging that Lisa feels inadequate. There's a voice in her head that's telling her she'll never be thin enough, never be good enough, never be strong enough. Life is just too hard to deal with, so she chooses death. But on the night that she attempts to overdose on pills, Death gives her another option, and Lisa becomes Famine, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Reading this book made me think of the Ted Leo lyric "But don't forget what it really means to hunger strike
when you don't really need to" (and actually all of the song "Me and Mia"). This story is so claustrophobic that I had trouble catching my breath while reading it. Jackie Morse Kessler depiction of the inner voice of Lisa's anorexia was so painful to read; I wasn't surprised to learn that she had had her own past to draw from. The voice just doesn't leave Lisa alone, and it damages her relationships, her health, and her identity. The story clipped along at a fast pace, and I found the ending to be quite realistic (which is a nice feat, considering the supernatural elements of the story). This book left me eager to read the next book about a Horseman of the Apocalypse; according to Jackie Morse Kessler's website, it will be call Rage and will be about War. I can't wait.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Even if it Kills Me by Dorothy Joan Harris

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