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The Thick and the Lean

by Chana Porter

I devoured this book (pun intended). The world Chana Porter has created is a beautifully realized fun house mirror of our own, where our attitudes about sex are reflected in their attitudes about food. In this world, we meet two characters from opposite sides of society that are hungry. Raised outside of society in a ALGN religious cult that takes living purely to the extreme, Beatrice is literally hungry for food, but also to live and express herself authentically.  Reiko was raised in the poorest part of the city in a Free Wah family, the indigenous people of the country that lived, and ate, long before the ALGN people arrived with their concepts of food purity and subjugation. Reiko’s belly is full, but she hungers for security, power, and a place at the top. Inspired by the same piece of contraband literature, both women claw and fight to find a place in a society built to keep them down, with drastically different results.

Porter uses this concept to not only to force the reader to confront their own concepts of morality, but as a tool to create two fully realized, flawed, and fascinating heroines, and to weave a universal story.  – Skye