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Bibliophilic Monologues

Hunger (Riders of the Apocalypse Series)

Hunger - Jackie Kessler Perhaps it is because it’s Ramadan and I am fasting that I feel so intimately acquainted with Hunger. Where the feeling expands and consumes you to the point that your thoughts do not (dare I say cannot?) move beyond satiating its demands. Hunger is when food takes on a mantle usually assumed by Gods and deities and demands worship, demands an admission of its importance. Yes, as you can see, I have pondered upon this feeling quite a lot in the daily 16 hours I am without food and as such at the mercy of Hunger. Lisabeth has contrary feelings for food. A part of her is fascinated by it; fascinated by the textures, the feel, the taste of it as it dissolves in her mouth. And the other part, the more dominant part of her that comes complete with a Thin Voice is afraid of it. Afraid of what it means to her body should she consume even the slightest amount. That part of her knows exactly how many calories each type of food contains in how many portions. It knows how long she will have to exercise to rid her body of any food she consumes. And that part of her also insists that she is fat. And ugly. She pushes away her boyfriend and best friend when they are concerned about her weight and finds solace in another girl who is held in the unyielding grip of Bulimia. Kessler writes a compelling story about a girl going through the all too common eating disorder. She manages to portray Lisa as a victim without resorting to melodrama and cliches. Her prose is skillful and her descriptions are beautifully rendered. While the fantasy element is an important part of the book, it felt to me that Kessler used the mythology as a vehicle to let Lisabeth confront her eating disorder and her relationship with food. And hunger. Whether it is ironic or fitting that Famine is Lisa, the fact that she is lets the reader marry her eating disorder and the fantasy elements so that the conclusion, when it is reached, is the result of both realistic and fantastic happenings. I found the book to be beautifully written, sensitive about eating disorders but retaining the realism of it. Kessler does not, in any way, romanticize the disorder. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good read.