Release date: January 11, 2018
Publisher: Red Door Books
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…
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Appetite! I have an extract from the book to share today.
Chapter One Monday 7th January
Looking down, resting awkwardly against a lamp post, David kept out of sight of the school for a little longer. He always did this. And he always spent the time hoping, after each blink, that his eyes would open to find the buildings blown up or the pavement underneath him bathed in a strange, pale light before it fell away, his body being sucked up into a spaceship full of friendly, intelligent (female) aliens. But the bomb never fell, the UFO never came. With appalling consistency, it always got to 8.45, the bell always began to ring and he always had to walk over the road and through the gates.
Even while he had been enjoying the coloured lights and comforts of the recent Christmas holidays, this had been on the edge of his mind, causing the same lingering sense of unease as a receding nightmare. When he wasn’t imagining the destruction of the school or the convenient abduction of himself, he was watching. Watching grey trousers and grey jackets against grey concrete. A parade of uniform and uniformity marching steadily towards black gates holding black bags. And there, with blazers stretched across their backs, bunching up under the armpits and pulled taut across the hips, were the fat kids. Winter coats hung open loosely. They rarely fitted properly anyway, but after Christmas? Well, you could just forget about buttons then. They were, as always, bringing up the rear, looking only at the ground as they lumbered towards the looming metal gates, some of them quickly finishing chocolate bars and bags of crisps as they walked, the actual cause of and the imagined cure for their misery scrunched up and tossed on to the pavement before they entered the playground.
I hate fat kids, thought David. Everyone hates fat kids. Or pities them. Which is even worse.
Watching them as they went through the school gates was like watching a grinding-machine at work. Hard cogs relentlessly turning, breaking things down, chewing them up. Once he stepped inside he was trapped: as far from home and its comforts as he would ever be.
Today, he thought, should be a good day. Today, I am feeling unusually angry. These days, the days when he felt this rage, were the easy ones. It was the sad days he found the hardest to bear. Days when the sadness was there when he woke up in the morning and followed him until nightfall like a weary shadow. The sadness was viscous, a tar pool that pulled at him, wanting to drag him under.
But today he was angry, and the edge that gave him made what lay ahead seem more tolerable.
The bell rang.
Crossing the invisible line that traced across the tarmac, he felt his back go rigid.
‘Hey, fat fuck!’
‘Who ate all the mince pies? Pretty bloody obvious from here…’
‘I didn’t think it was possible for you to get fatter, but Jesus…’
And it wasn’t just the older kids. The younger ones taunted him too. Taunted and laughed.
Automatically and unconsciously, David’s shoulders hunched and his head went down. It was an attempt, no matter how futile, to minimise the space he filled. The rage, though it formed a hard carapace around his mind, was as ineffectual at protecting him from the verbal assault course he was enduring as the rounding of his shoulders was at disguising a simple fact. The simple fact that, of all the fat kids, he, David, was the fattest.