Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Book Review: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Hunger is the first book I read on my Nook and I really enjoyed the experience.  The Nook is still not replacing my print books (I've read about four print books in the time it took me to read Hunger and about half of two other books on the Nook), but it's perfect for reading at my desk or at the dog park. 

Back to the book...Hunger is the story of an anorexic teenage girl who becomes Famine, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Basically the story is about the eating disorder and the inner struggle the girl faces when she encounters Famine around the world. 

I really appreciated the way the author addresses eating disorders and contrasts Lisa's anorexia with those who are experiencing famine.  It really highlighted some issues that I haven't seen addressed before in YA fiction dealing with anorexia.  You understand Lisa and sympathize with her, but you are also able to see how her behavior is selfish and self-centered, when it's placed in the context of people who are starving because they have nothing to eat, rather than choosing not to eat.  Rather than portraying Lisa as a victim, she becomes empowered and makes the decision to ask for help.  I thought the author did a great job of portraying anorexia.  

My only issue with the book is that it wasn't quite what I expected from reading the summaries.  There is no Apocalypse, which I kind of expected from a book about the Four Horsemen.  I think having a pretty thorough knowledge of the book of Revelation and having had the opportunity to study the Apocalypse under the amazing Dr. Richard Land, I was expecting the book to be more true to the idea of the horsemen.  It was like reading a vampire book where the vampires don't need to drink blood.  Also, I just have to point out that the author didn't quite get the riders right - Pestilence is not a rider in the Bible, but is commonly associated with Death.  In the books they are two separate riders. 

Although the book doesn't really stick with the details found in the Bible, I was still able to enjoy it (MST3K review policy, remember?)  I was totally fine with the artistic license the author took, but from the summary I did expect that the book would have something to do with a coming Apocalypse.  It's only the first book in the series, though, and I'm definitely goign to read the next one, Rage, which deals with another horseman, War, a teenage girl who self-mutilates.  I'm hoping it will go into more detail about the horsemen and how the author is using them in the story. 

I definitely recommend, especially to people who typically enjoy YA.  I'm really getting tired of the typical YA with a love triangle and two 15 year olds who live happily ever after.  I think having a brother that age has taken away the romance for me.  I think "ok, so you end up together - and a year from now you're going to go to separate colleges and break up or move across the country".  I just can't enjoy the books as much when they're all about a teen romance.  So I LOVED that this one doesn't focus on that aspect.  Lisa has a boyfriend, but there is no "will they break up or live happily ever after" tension.  So if you're tired of the typical YA with love triangle story, this is a good one to read.

9 comments:

  1. I agree with you about the misleading summary. I thought there would be more about Lisa's role as one of the Horsemen. That aspect of the story wasn't fleshed out quite as well as it could have been.

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  2. That saddens me (about the lack of apocalypse) but I hope to read this soon. I got OKed for the galley version but I'm waiting until my birthday to start reading. I'm hoping I'll get enough money/gc's whatever to order a Kindle *crosses fingers*

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  3. How did you manage to get the ebook? I have been looking and can't find it anywhre except for the kindle on Amazon, which I don't have.

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  4. Sounds interesting... I am adding it to my "to read" list. :)

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  5. I just checked this one out from the library...glad to see that you recommend it :)

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  6. So, would this be considered a paranormal/fantasy type book? It sounds interesting, but I'm not really into that genre much, so I'm a bit hesitant.

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  7. I haven't read this yet but have added to my list for next time I splash out on books. I am a little bit tired of teenage romances, and especially of the triangular shape - it's not obligatory! Looking forward to reading it (and thanks for the warning to leave my critical-specs behind and just enjoy the story.)

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  8. I've been wanting to read this book! It's certainly different. Your review is making me want to go out and pick it up. It's nice to break away from the romance side of fiction every once in a while. :)

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