Thursday, March 29, 2012

Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games

What is it possible to say about The Hunger Games that hasn't already been said? Everyone knows the gist of what it's about, so I'm not going to get into that, I'm just going to tell you why you should read it.

From the beginning, it's a fast-paced, exciting read. A lot of the exposition is interspersed with the action, which keeps it moving quickly. So even if you think you're going to hate it, just read it already, so the rest of us can talk to you about it! Can you believe how crazy such-and-such death was? Don't you think that so-and-so is going to turn out to secretly be a jerk? Is (narrator) Katniss secretly a jerk? Are we going to talk about how disgusting reality TV is, or could be, or are we going to rush to the theater to watch kids battle it out to the death and thank some deity that at least it's not real? (I've heard the movie doesn't glorify the actual games, but I guess we'll see.) Is society already as gross as it is in the book?

There are deeper questions to be asked when you read The Hunger Games, for sure. What happens when the government has too much power? How do people deal with that when they benefit from those inequities versus when they're held hostage by them. These questions aren't posed directly, nor are they really answered. I also think that if you're frustrated by politics but they're on your radar, (hi, that's me!), you'll probably be more apt to start drawing parallels and getting cranky. But The Hunger Games is self contained in a way that doesn't make it seem like it's trying to tackle such big issues, it saves them for later. I definitely think that's important for a YA book, to not get too serious about the issues in a way that bashes the reader over the head. (I think Collins saved that all for Mockingjay, or else just lost all her restraint there.) It's just about a girl fighting for her life and her family's future in a really fucked up system.

Also, maybe I'm overly sentimental, but isn't it a bit of a tear-jerker?

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