The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Dystopian visions—no matter how engaging—are not my thing. Due to childhood nightmares (I think that’s the cause anyway), my adult sleeping brain latches onto despair and hopelessness and doesn’t seem to be able to shake it til morning.
So it took a work assignment to get me to read Suzanne Collins’s futuristic tale of a young woman forced to fight for her life on live television. I am positive that this book is for teenagers today what The Chronicles of Narnia was for me: a gateway to a lifetime of reading.
*****************SPOILERS, ALTHOUGH THE PLOT OF THIS BOOK IS EVERYWHERE*****************
This book is depressing – that shouldn’t be too surprising considering it’s part of the ridiculous amounts of dystopian pop culture churning out right now (can it stop soon, please?). I find hope in this story because Katniss is in a position to change things, and there are rumblings of people wanting a better world.
I had to think of Panem as a far away land that had nothing to do with our world in order to read it. What caught me first was the author’s stance on reality television. I am relieved that a popular author is addressing the falseness of “Reality”. Collins’s idea to prop that idea up as the axis of a love triangle is brilliant, I think.
The second thing that struck me was Collins’s approach to Katniss’s heroism. She doesn’t seek it out, she doesn’t want it, she is just reacting to the moment and focusing on survival. But to the reader, Katniss is strong, thoughtful, and resourceful. She has no money backing her—she comes from a poor district—but she finds a way to make her strengths prevail.
The third thing that struck me was how Katniss puts on different hats. One moment she’s vulnerable and shy. Thirty pages later she’s ready to take out a legion of professional killers. Reminded me very much of being a teenager and trying on different personalities (or sometimes, managing legendary hormone changes).
I did not give this book 5 stars because I didn’t feel moved to write any of the sentences down. There were no thoughts that made me stop and consider the impact of their meaning. The writing was to-the-point, much like Katniss. And the style fits the tone, which is not a fault. But when I started writing reviews here I told myself that 5 stars requires that I write sentences down to remember them later and I’m going to stick to that.
I don’t think anyone will be surprised by the next book I read, though…