A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.
Time to delve into the world of the Hunger Games, where you can starve to death if the others don’t kill you first. Not quite as safe as District Twelve, but what can you do?
Personally, I am much more of a fantasy girl than a dystopia girl. There’s something about princesses and dragons that I find infinitely appealing. This being said, the Hunger Games kept me interested. It kind of melded the two together for me. A world where you could be dressed up and become beautiful only to serve a more sinister purpose. I am very comfortable in this world. The idea that a government is showy about its corruptness instead of keeping it hidden is one that fascinates me. I wonder about how far governments would actually go to maintain peace and their own rule. Looking back through history, I see the Hunger Games as a potential that is not that far away. (Just look at the Holocaust.) Fear makes us foolish and want to be led, wherever and however, to safety or at least its illusion. The Hunger Games explores this with interesting and predictable results. The predictability here is good though because we don’t want the evil government to win. (Suzanne Collins does a passable job at keeping us in suspense as to what the cost is at defeating the government even through the predictability.) Just think of the repercussions if it did. Scary stuff.
Eventually, we get tired of the evil government and give it the big FU
The love story between Katniss and Peeta does not do it for me though. There is no possible way a girl could be that oblivious to a boy (or two boys for that matter) liking her. She’d have to have no social skills at all and be absolutely horrible at reading people. She might have better luck using facial braille. Not to mention, Katniss is a badass. She doesn’t need Peeta, not really. She doesn’t want to really get tangled up with Peeta and the Games throw them together. I think the whole premise for their love reeks of phony. It just doesn’t ring true for me at all. (SPOILER ALERT FOR ENTIRE SERIES) It’s another story of “love” conquers all, where they end up together and have defeated every bad guy and potential bad guy at the end of the series. It’s too perfect! Katniss’s total loses in this endeavor? Katniss loses Prim. She still ends up with Peeta and with children anyway, scarred as both she and her new hubby are.
I’m sure if Suzanne Collins tried, she could find three other couples.
While I respect people who can just pick up the pieces and move on. Katniss’s sister died. HER SISTER DIED! I would be absolutely devastated if my sister died. I would hunt down the pilot of the ship that killed her and tear his heart out with my bear hands after a long torture session. I would have maggots eat him alive for awhile before I finally put an end to his misery. There is no end to the horrible things I would do to the person that killed my sister. What does Katniss do? Continues with her plan and marries Peeta. If you’re willing to risk your own life for your sister just so she DOESN’T die, you can’t just brush it off when it happens.
This is what happens when you kill my sister. You have a killer day.
But, we’re here to discuss the first book and not the whole series; sorry I digress. I really wish Suzanne Collins would have fleshed out the other tributes a little bit more. I understand why she didn’t, but I feel like a little bit of character development wouldn’t have been so bad. Death is more meaningful when it’s someone you know. Go look at the obituary page and see if you are really moved by anything you see there. I’d be surprised if you are. Go look at the obit of your grandma or aunt or friend and I can almost guarantee there will be some sort of deeper reaction and feeling of loss. If what the Capital is doing is so awful, the other kids shouldn’t just be killing machines while Katniss, Peeta, and Rue have personalities. They’re all afraid. They’re all just kids. Why do the Careers find great honor in the Games? What are their motivations for staying alive? They have families too. I feel that the Games would have been much more horrific and meaningful if the kids had names and stories, however brief.
A whole bunch of faces. That’s all you are. A bunch of pretty faces.
It is still easy to lose yourself in the book. The Hunger Games is pretty well written and the dialogue is pithy and charged. It’s really hard to find a book with dialogue as meaningful as that in The Hunger Games. I feel like every single word a character says to another has all sorts of punch to it. The last line of dialogue in the entire book. “One more time? For the audience?” Wait to go, Peeta, you have summed up the entire story. It’s amazing.
“I am just so awesome.” – Peeta
I’m sure if you had asked me my opinion of this book when I read it in tenth grade, my opinion would be different. But, hey it’s late and I’ve got books to read, so I will leave it at that and I’ll be back Saturday.
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Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller
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