Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dad's Book Club: The Hunger Games

I have to admit that the reason I picked up this book was just because it's a popular thing. Also, because I wanted to buy an e-book from Amazon and read it on my iPad, and this seemed as good a choice as any. However, I have to admit that I honestly really enjoyed reading it (actually reading the whole series) despite its fadish-ness (if that's even a word).

The premise is a little disturbing--kids having to fight each other to the death?!? Yuck. As a mom, not my favorite thing to read about. I was glad it was a book at some points so I could just gloss over a paragraph or two, skip a few gory details, and just figure out who died. I'm still not sure I'll be able to handle the movie... I mean... ew.

It took me a good 40 pages to adjust to Collins's writing style. She likes to use fragments. A lot. Without warning. Doesn't always flow so well. Read the first few chapters twice, then go on.

The first book is definitely geared towards an adolescent audience, with the classic appeal to teenagers of an "adults-can't-handle-it-so-now-I-have-to-save-the-day" attitude. Katniss, the 12-year-old, is the one that could save her family from starving, not her mom or aunts or uncles or any other adults, for they are not trustworthy. You can't really blame her for this attitude. Most of the adults she comes in contact with are sniveling, deceitful, and even bloodthirsty.

It's not a problem for Katniss to have this attitude; it's actually very natural... but since the story is written from her point of view, a reader must take it into account when evaluating the other characters. Remember, Katniss is young. Katniss doesn't always know what Katniss is doing. Katniss is still growing up. Just keep that in the back of your mind as you read, and don't be to quick to judge the other characters just because Katniss does.

As the series progressed, I was very impressed at the way Collins handled some rather difficult topics. The one that stuck out the most to me was her attempt to answer the question: "How can a person return to normal life after facing war?" (or something along those lines) I liked her answer. As I read it, it's something like this: Well, you can't really return to normal life after experiencing warfare. But that doesn't mean you're doomed. You need support, you need productive things to do, and you need something to look forward to. Then, you will probably be ok.

True, it's not the happiest of endings, but more importantly, I think it's honest, and even hopeful. And I like that.

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2 Comments:

At February 13, 2012 12:57 PM , Blogger Brooke E said...

I think you got out of it just what I would have hoped. Mostly I am glad you had fun reading it, which I was pretty sure you would. :) It's an interesting story - not one that you can delve really, really deeply into and find tons of philosophic themes. But there are some themes, and they are pretty good. And the story is intriguing. So it's a good read, even if it isn't a deeply poignant classic.

 
At February 13, 2012 4:54 PM , Blogger sunnysnows said...

:) I'm glad you liked it! I enjoyed the series, and I include it in my dystopian list for my students to choose from during that unit. Tons of them are reading it anyway because they heard the movie is coming out, but I'm just glad they're reading. You should try Legend by Marie Lu. I borrowed it from the library and thought it was interesting in a similar way as Hunger Games.

 

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