Down The Book Cubbyhole

The Geeky Adventures of a Bookish Girl

Hunger — Jackie Morse Kessler


I deem it unnecessary to be forlorn if you are plumpish or whatsoever, as long as you’re not excessively fat. Trust me; looking healthy is much better than looking sickly. Do you even think you’ll look good without enough flesh or curves to fit into your clothes?

According to statistics, In the United States alone, it has been estimated that 8 million people have an eating disorder—7 million goes to women while the remaining 1 million goes to men. One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia, while 2-3 American women suffer from bulimia. An estimated 10-15% who suffer from anorexia or bulimia are males and nearly half of the population personally know someone who suffers from these illnesses. How much more if you sum up every country? How did we come into that?

During the earlier times, being plump suggests wealth while a gaunt figure otherwise suggests poverty. As generations passed, the way people see themselves changed extraordinarily. Today, the stirring influence of the media alone seemingly impinges upon its audiences the emphasis of perfection—by that, we interject the notion of being thin.

So, what does eating disorder have to do with this Horseman?

Lisabeth Lewis, our protagonist, suffers from anorexia. Death appointed her as Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Famine hauls her to places where hunger is at its gravest. Amidst the ghastly ramblings, Lisa eventually realizes how she foolishly emaciated her physique when there are innumerable people famished, starving, and without the same privilege as hers. This understanding instigated her to seize Famine’s power to alleviate the sufferings of these people.

The book was pretty decent. The premise was brilliant, but the execution wasn’t that great. Surely, the cover was inevitably irresistible and the blurb was greatly appealing. However, this isn’t really an apocalyptic novel albeit the presence of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse—more into teenage dilemma.

Regardless of Hunger being the first book in the series, I have read Rage first. Apparently, this has got more depth than the second book but still wasn’t moving enough. I am quite convinced that Kessler delved more into the effects of the eating disorder with Lisa physically, which robbed her from her personality. Certainly, anorexia affects the body, but it would have been better if Kessler also explored what it was doing with her personality. You don’t get to know who Lisa really is throughout the whole book despite being the protagonist. Some elements in addition, were far-fetched to be convincing. For instance, Lisa was in sheer denial that she has anorexia but momentarily accepted her role as Famine. And no one seemed to notice her losing weight other than her best friend, not even her boyfriend and her parents. One more thing, why has she become anorexic? Too many loopholes remained unpolished.

Even the side characters don’t have enough appeal to be remembered. They were just there to keep the story going—coming in and out of the picture just to say there were side characters. War also, just keeps popping in and out in certain scenes just to scare and annoy Lisa. Death is an amazing character, though. He is humorous, charming, and dreamy. A little more fleshing out—he would’ve been perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the world to end yet, but aren’t the Horsemen the harbingers of the Apocalypse? They were called those for a reason but it seemed like here, they were just entitled to be one, not literally the agents of the aforementioned Doomsday.

Probably the problem is that this is too short. If written longer, the story would’ve been stretched far more, and perchance would be better.

On with the good points. Notwithstanding the incessant rants, I still did not hate this book. There were still certain points that I relished—the message about loving your body, that is. Everybody has flaws, yes, and there are really times, if not often, that when you look in the mirror, you will not love what you are seeing. It may be the zits on your face, your bulging stomach, your huge thighs, or you are not tall enough. Just like Lisa being obsessed with her weight, each one of us is also obsessed with our imperfections, whatever that is.

Choosing Famine as a distraught teenager, one who suffers from anorexia was a creative and an imaginative maneuver with these types of themes.

Again, a decent read. It gives a different spin to the original Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and doesn’t shy away from its tough subject matter.


Rating: ★★★✰✰

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2 thoughts on “Hunger — Jackie Morse Kessler

  1. Sounds interesting. I just published a book on my experiences with anorexia nervosa. I hope you’ll check it out if you have time 🙂

  2. Will do! Already bookmarked it! 🙂

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