#bookreview – Appetite by Anita Cassidy @AnitaCassidy76 @RedDoorBooks #blogtour
I’m absolutely thrilled today to be taking part in the blog tour for Appetite by Anita Cassidy and will be reviewing it further down this post. Thank you to Red Door Books for the review copy and the place on the tour.
Shall we find out what Appetite is all about?
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.
At the mercy of their appetites, this exciting debut novel shows that some hungers can never be satisfied…
Appetite is the ideal title for this book.
–a natural desire to satisfy a bodily need, especially for food.
“he has a healthy appetite”
synonyms: hunger, ravenousness, hungriness, need for food;
–a strong desire or liking for something.
“her appetite for life”
synonyms: craving, longing, yearning, hankering, hunger, thirst, passion, relish, lust, love, zest, gusto, avidity, ardour;
We have three protagonists here. David is a 14 year old boy who is extremely overweight. He knows he overeats, he’s almost become a part of the settee that he spends so much time sat on, he hates himself, so why can’t he stop? Naomi is a woman in a rut. Her son, James, is David’s best friend. She loves her husband but wants, no needs, more. And Matthew is David’s science teacher. He likes his job but has an increasing feeling of not making any difference to anything. But the project that he sets for his class might just make a difference, to him and to at least one of his pupils.
I thought Appetite was a perfectly observed look at greed, desire, need, want. As someone with a poor relationship with food I found it very easy to empathise with David most of all, but I actually understood how each of them felt. Naomi’s appetite is for something more visceral than food. Hers is a desire to be wanted and this leads her to seek the adventure she craves away from home. Her sections were quite raw, quite animalistic. And I did like Matthew, a man who really could be one of those inspirational teachers. But David and James, I think, were my real favourite characters. For teenage boys, they were actually extremely likeable.
We follow the characters through around eight months of a year, from January to August. The changes they go through, the greater understandings of their needs. The author has done something clever here. She’s worked hunger and desire into a storyline that works incredibly well, and she’s showed it in different ways. I marked this passage which is about Naomi and her need to get back to the computer to talk to a man on there:
It was the anticipation, the thrill of the forbidden, and she knew that the next morning, the moment she was up and in front of the computer, she would be back there, indulging again, binging and gorging on his words, feasting on his need for her, stuffing herself with it until she felt sick. Getting ready for the next time.
I marked this because I thought it was a clever use of words that would normally be associated with food, but in fact they were used about Naomi’s need for a sexual fix. It just highlights that appetite is not just about food. Yet, this is the woman who says, about a friend she has just met for the first time in years and who has put on an enormous amount of weight:
‘And, really, how hard is it to cut back? How hard is it to change habits? Bad habits?’
It was ironic that she didn’t see the similarities with her own situation. And it’s so easy to judge, isn’t it?
At 470 pages, this is no lightweight of a book. But I didn’t want it to end. I found it thoroughly engrossing. It really hit the nail on the head for me – I ‘got’ it. It was one of those books that spoke to me personally in many ways. It tackles many issues in a non-issue making way, if that makes sense. It’s not a rant but a look at how a need for something can control your life. I found myself wishing there was somebody else who was reading it who I could chat to about it. It would be great for book groups as there is so much to discuss and debate.
The writing is superb, it made me think, it shocked me, it thrilled me. Cassidy’s writing is completely honest. It’s probably not for everybody, but this reader loved it.
Having enjoyed a successful career in recruitment and advertising and begun to raise her children, Anita started to write in 2012 during NaNoWriMo. She divides her time between London and Kent and is currently writing another novel focusing on the intersections between work, love and life, covering issues such as commercialisation of the charity sector, family and self vs community, BDSM and polyamory. Her writing both challenges and entertains.