Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: Hunger by Donna Jo Napoli

Hunger, by Donna Jo Napoli book cover and review
Hunger is a great introduction for younger teens to what is commonly known as the Irish Potato Famine.

The story is told from the perspective of a twelve-year-old girl, Lorraine. Her family are tenant farmers and Hunger depicts the extreme hardships of the Irish people during the long winter with no food.

Because of a chance meeting in the woods, Lorraine meets a rich English girl, Susannah, who is the landlord's daughter.  Susannah is privileged and has no idea of the suffering of her father's tenants. She has been told they are lazy. Lorraine tries to set her straight, and Susannah at least helps her with some additional food.

Starvation brings with it diseases and death, and Napoli doesn't shy away from this truth.  The English are not made to look very good.

The ending does leave the reader with some hope, but if you read the detailed history of Ireland at the end of the book, there is still a lot of hardship ahead for these people.

Hunger would be most appealing to middle-grade students, but older students with an interest can also learn from this tale. Hunger is a relatively short book and keeps your attention, so reluctant readers interested in historical fiction should be pointed to this one.

Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, February 13, 2018
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
272 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. This is a topic that I'll bet most Americans know nothing about so I'm glad to hear there is an accessible book that tells it through a good story.

  2. Oooh, this sounds like a good one. I'll keep an eye out for it.


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