My good friend Alethea Eason is a marvelous author of the children’s book HUNGRY. We met in Northern California’s Lake County. I first moved to St. Louis and now she’ll be moving to teach in Chile, South America in February…and continue writing her next book in the series, STARVED.
I think “Hungry” is amazing. I see it as a parable that both adults and children will enjoy and learn from in varying levels. There are so many cross-over elements in “Hungry.” Sometimes I think about “Lord of the Flies” for instance in the challenge about whether to eat, or not eat, your best friend.
Alethea told me: The book seems to be evoking a lot of this. I think it will help teachers talk issues with kids. I’m hoping [my next book] STARVED will continue with this.
2007 Hugo nominee Bruce McAllister likes Eason’s HUNGRY, too. McAllister says: “HUNGRY is one of the funniest—and probably the most charming–alien invasion tale this field has seen. Its spunky (and all-too-human) heroine is irresistible.”
There’s also a wonderful review from www.infodad.com, titled “Eaters and Eaten.” Click here to read the complete review of Eason’s book Hungry on Infodad.
Here’s an excerpt:
But what about a species that is truly alien? That’s what Alethea Eason introduces in her first novel, which is as amusing and frothy as Zuckerman’s is serious and thought-provoking. The basic subject matter is the same – intelligent species eating each other (or not) – but one of the species in question in Eason’s book happens to be Homo sapiens.
A novel for middle-schoolers (ages 10 and up), Hungry focuses on a sixth-grader named Deborah, who is just starting to notice boys – especially one particular boy, Willy, whose has curly red hair and radiates coolness and is Deborah’s closest friend. Not that way, at least not yet – but there are certainly possibilities…until Deborah’s parents tell her to turn Willy into lunch.
Alethea Eason’s Hungry features Deborah, or Dbkrrrsh as she is known on her home planet, as she discovers that her Home World intends to invade the Earth and consume the humans as their newest food source. Deborah learns that her race has historically used up a planet’s resources until there is nothing left, and then they locate another food source on another planet.
Deborah has something she’d like to teach her race about eating, and about managing the resources. Her parents want her to prove her loyalty to the native race by consuming her best friend, Willie.
The story is told with Deborah’s 6th-grade voice, which is strong and funny. Clearly the issues of eating aren’t meant to be taken literally or seriously, but more as a parody of our consumption-based society.
Hungry never gets preachy, though. The reader is free to draw their own conclusions. Deborah has a humorous voice, and her dilemma as she wrestles with the conflicting loyalties to her best friend and to her family is handled sensitively and realistically. I found myself on both sides of the fence more than once, and felt the characters and their behavior ring very true. When Deborah is “tested” in a purgation ceremony ritual from the Home World, the extraordinary and vivid world is hypnotic in its scenery and action. Hungry is an excellent book for parents and teachers to talk about values and right choices. It is also very entertaining, and a page-turner. Hungry is altogether a superb read.
I agree with Mary. And to find out what Deborah does…what choices she makes…read HUNGRY to find out.