Kathy Martin's Reviews > Hunger

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
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Feb 17, 12

Read on February 17, 2012

What a fascinating combination of teenage "problem novel" and fantasy. Lisabeth is struggling with anorexia and is firmly in denial when she is drafted by Death to be the next Famine. Getting into the mind of a young woman who is anorexic was both fascinating and scary. Her inner voice kept telling her she was fat and Lisa couldn't silence it. She was drifting away from her boyfriend, her friends, and even life when Death shows up.

Lisa travels the world as Famine and sees real hunger first hand. She learns to use her own forced starvation to ease the plight of some people who are caught in a famine and learns her own strength. I liked how Lisabeth gained strength and confidence as she played the role of Famine. I liked the happy (or at least, hopeful) ending.

The characters were all interesting too. From Death who looks to Lisa like a dead grunge rocker, to War who tries to intimidate her, and Pestilence who tells her that they work well together which leads to the typical teenage reaction of "ew" from Lisa. Lisa's view of her family with a father who is idolized but who escapes into alcohol each night and a mother who is a pattern of perfection and who constantly snipes at Lisa help us to understand why she might have become anorexic. Both parents are busy with their own lives and concerns and tend to not really see Lisa. And, naturally, Lisa's defensiveness kicks in when her friend and boyfriend try to confront her about her anorexia. She goes out and makes a new friend who is bulimic but who looks to Lisa like she has everything together.

This story was quick to read but will certainly not be quickly forgotten. I recommend it to all teens. Lisa is worth getting to know.
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