I finally got around to reading Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. It took me a while to feel the interest. I’ve heard this book hyped up so much I was sure it couldn’t live up to all the ballyhoo. Add the cult-movie sensation projected to produce a $300 million box office by this Sunday, and just I knew it was going to be disappointing. (Wow… I think I’m a bit of a pessimist…?) Nevertheless, a friend of mine put the book in my hands and I flipped open the cover and dug in.
I have to admit, for the first few chapters it seems like my predictions about the book were coming true. I just couldn’t see what the big deal was. I don’t particularly care for novels written in the first person either, as this one is. It’s often difficult to really find the character and ignore the voice of the author.
But. I got to about chapter 5 and could not put this book down. My inhibitions in getting into this book fell away as Collins masterfully stepped to the background and let Katniss speak for herself. The pace, the impending feeling of doom, the slowing and then racing and then slowing pulse of the book makes for quite a suspenseful adventure. I could almost see and feel what Katniss saw and felt.
I came to this book knowing it was a major sensation, but I had purposefully shielded myself from finding out anything at all about the characters and plot. I feel the experience was much better for it, and I will recommend the same for anyone else out there who hasn’t picked it up yet. It’s better to come and be surprised. In that vein, references to the plot in this post will be vague at best. I have many more thoughts about some of the specifics of the story and I would love to discuss them. Feel free to ask me in person or send me a message to respond to!
I will also offer a big disclaimer. I would not recommend this book for young audiences. The major plot-line is distressing and some of the plot details are downright disturbing.
Having said that, this book is incredibly entertaining and thought-provoking.
The major thought that lingers with me after reading this book is, “How would I deal with something like this? If I lived in this society, and my name was drawn, what would I do??” It’s a haunting question. How much would my basic survival instinct take over? Would it be primarily fight or flight? Would I go mad? Would I try to hold to moral integrity? Or would life be more important to me in the moment? Would I even have any skills necessary to survive? Could I make it to the end? Or would I be taken out early on in the game?