Because everyone hungers for something…
Food and Sex: two appetites the modern world stimulates, but also the ones we are expected to keep under control. But what happens when we don’t?
Embarking on an affair, lonely wife and mother Naomi blossoms sexually in a false spring while David, the fattest boy at the local comprehensive and best friend of her son, struggles to overcome bullying and the apathy of his divorced mother.
David finally starts to learn about the mechanisms of appetite through a science project set by his intelligent but jaded teacher, Matthew. David’s brave efforts to change himself open Matthew’s eyes to his activist girlfriend’s dangerous plans to blow up VitSip, a local energy-drink company where Naomi works.
I am very excited to be on the #BlogTour for Appetite by Anita Cassidy today Thank you to Red Door Publishing for sending me this lovely copy. For the whole week that I was reading it, it grabbed SO much attention as the ARC was just GORGEOUS.
Its colours were as bright and enticing as the storyline inside and meant that I ended up recommending it to so many people who just loved the cover. The photo by Kelly Lacey at LOVE BOOKS GROUP just sums it up to a tee, and I’m sure that her spotlight on Appetite earlier really whetted lots of APPETITES to read the book.
Here is a link to the lovely Kelly’s article and I’m looking forward to seeing what she thinks about it when she takes her place on the tour on the 14th Love Books Appetite Spotlight
I loved this tale of three different characters with very different ‘hungers’ : David who is locked in a hopeless cycle of overeating self-loathing and despair. Matthew whose epiphany following his trip to Brazil pushes him into following his love-interest Polly into making sure that what he’s seen there can be put into practice back in the UK and making sure that more people understand the way that large companies gamble with our health in the pursuit of profit and finally Naomi whose successful business head is soon led into dangerous waters as her online flirtation with her friend’s partner suddenly transforms into something much more illicit and morally complex.
All three characters were very well realised and I loved the way that their lives all overlapped and intersected with one another. Lots of novels with multiple narrative strands can feel a little ‘unconnected’ and I’ve sometimes found myself preferring one of the voices and skipping ahead to that part over and over again. Appetite is very well balanced in the way its narrative unfolds and although all three characters are very different in terms of their ‘hungers’, their stories are very well calibrated and you find yourself thinking about them as a whole rather than three diverse and independent stories.
David’s tale stood out for me the most as I think we are so used to looking at food and body image from the perspective of an adolescent female that David’s voice was fresh and compelling. His journey in the book ( no spoilers…) is very well realised and the other characters served to make me even more convinced by him as someone who refuses to let their ‘hungers’ define them and is driven to rise above his circumstances to make a difference to his life. The description of his attitude to food and eating is very well done indeed and I can definitely see me using it with my students to cast some light on an often overlooked area of young people’s health and wellbeing.
I loved Anita Cassidy’s reflection on David’s story on her website:
All the different parts of Appetite are parts of me but it is David’s story, about his learning to accept and love himself, that is the most important to me. That need to remind everyone, including myself, just how hard it can be to see through how we think about ourselves to the truth of what we are: acceptable and loveable in, and because of, our flawed glory.
All of the issues in this book: activism, overeating, infidelity, social media, education, food health, relationships and managing our destiny are very skilfully woven into the narrative so that they never feel ‘bolted on’ or tokenistic. As an educator myself, I really enjoyed reading Appetite and it certainly gave me a lot to think about. It would make a great reading group book, I feel, as there are so many angles and perspectives on offer here that it would provide hours of debate.
Appetite paints a compelling and sometimes frightening picture of the way that our society fixates on and obsesses about food, particularly sugar, and makes us think hard about the way that many of us use food, sex, social media or relationships to deaden the pain we feel and allow us to ignore the things that we hope and dream about rather than embark upon the difficult task of tackling the challenges in our way and achieving our full potential…
I can’t wait for someone else I know to read it so that we can chat about it some more and discuss some of the personal and societal issues it raises as they are certainly very pertinent. The important thing about Appetite is that first and foremost it’s a rattling good read with credible and sympathetic characters that you’ll think about for a good while after reading their story. I look forward to hearing more from Anita Cassidy and am very intrigued by the premise of her next book, but I suppose I’ll just need to be patient and wait…
Writer On The Shelf : Anita Cassidy
I am a writer, a relationship radical, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend. I am also a lover of old books, new music and (mostly) clean food. Whilst I understand the limitations of labels, I do identify as bi-sexual, polyamorous and kinky. Above all else, I am curious about everything: about life, about learning and about love.
I have, of late, begun to learn the true value of listening and being listened to. Please get in touch. I would love to hear what you have to say.