Let’s do the good news first. I’m pleased to announce that the Vampire Knight giveaway winner is:
Thanks to everyone who entered. I’m so happy to see several of our followers also read manga, or are interested in starting. I highly recommend it. Check out your local library as many have several popular series in their YA section.
Now, on to today’s review…
“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”
Lisabeth Lewis never meant to be Famine. If someone had asked her which of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse she’d choose to be, she probably would have replied with War. But strangely enough a man gave her an old-fashioned set of scales one night and told her “thou art Famine.” Now Lisa has these new powers that come from being Famine, a set of Scales that appear and disappear at will, a black steed who loves pralines, and no idea what to do. But it’s not like she knew what she was doing before she inherited Famine’s title. She does know about hunger and food, though, because her struggles with weight have driven her to become anorexic.
Can Lisa find a way to harness her powers — and the courage to battle her own demons before they destroy her?
This book was rather hard for me to read. I’ve never had an eating problem. The closest I’ve ever come to it is when I battled mild depression for a year in high school and dropped some weight from that. I have weight worries, like most people do, but I’ve never been one to deliberately starve myself. Since living on my own, my eating habits have devolved to what a child might envy. A lot of it is something I can nuke in the microwave or grab on the way out with large additions of sugary, chocolately items. (No one would ever call me a “health nut.”) So to read Lisabeth’s self-condemnation of how “fat” she is, how she needs to lose another ten or fifteen pounds when it seems she’s already underweight from the hints Jackie Kessler drops (she’s always cold, her hair has lost its sheen, her skin is patchy, etc.), it makes me want to slap Lisabeth because she needs to eat something! Anything! She’s killing herself and doesn’t even realize it.
Helping Lisabeth along that path of destruction is the “Thin” voice she hears. It lists the calorie and fat intake of specific foods and then calculates how much exercise it will take for Lisabeth to work it off. It also kept telling Lisabeth how fat she was. Needless to say, I hated the Thin voice. It was the culmination of every negative thought every teenage girl who struggles with weight has ever had times ten.
According to the National Eating Disorders Assocation, in the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder. That is a staggering number of people. Eating disorders tend to start while in the teens, but sometimes can start in a person as early as eight years old. Eight! Can you imagine an eight year old who has such a problem with their weight that they develop an eating disorder?
It amazes me that eating disorders are not talked about more often. There was a big to-do about it during my tween years, and of course there’s always that OK! issue or gossip magazine that asks the question: “Is so-and-so too thin?” or “Is so-and-so too fat?” Ugh. No wonder we have weight/body issues.
At the end of the book, Jackie reveals that Lisa was based on a real-life friend she had growing up and that she also went through a period in her teens where she became bulimic.
I liked this book. While it was hard to read at times because of the subject matter, I’m glad I did. I felt Lisabeth’s struggle with food and her slow realization that something might be wrong with her, while she tries to figure out the whole “I’m Famine” thing, was very well written. It was a good mix of fantasy and real life problems. I’m looking forward to the next book, Rage, which comes out in April next year.
And I’d recommend this book for someone who hasn’t battled with an eating disorder before. To me, it was an eye-opener. Hopefully it will be for someone else, too.
Also, for every book of Hunger purchased, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the National Eating Disorders Association.