It was a long, difficult week. But not nearly as difficult as Katniss Everdeen’s time in the Hunger Games!
This week I reread Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. In the dystopian world 16-year-old Katniss lives in, what little hope can barely exist is annually stomped out by the steel-toed boot of the Capitol. For almost 3/4 of a century, the Capitol has held a Roman-coliseum-style fight to the death between two members (one female and one male) of all 12 ‘districts’. In an overwhelming act of selflessness, Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in this bloody brawl. During her time in the Hunger Games Katinss plays to her strengths and comes out of the experience scarred, but wiser and even stronger than before… a frightening prospect for the Capitol.
I really enjoyed this book, but I do find that I agree with Shannon Hale in her blog post “The young adult book tropes that ate the world.” She has it pegged when she wrote: “Enough love triangles. Enough falling in love with one person and then another. Enough characters falling in love instantly. Enough characters who can’t figure out what they want. Enough characters who discover they (or their crush) are changing, turning/can turn into a creature both more incredible and horrible than they ever imagined. Enough protagonist complaining/whining about his/her life (though let’s be honest, this criticism is usually directed at the “her” only). Enough conveniently absent parents so the protagonist can be free to have an adventure. Enough what we’ve already seen a hundred times.”
Although I think The Hunger Games is a great story, it does have some of the above mentioned issues. I also felt as though parts of it were ‘corny’ and pandered to the young readers angst. I know this is a fictitious story, but would the world reader really deal as directly with a 16-year-old troublemaker throughout the series as President Snow does in the book? Wouldn’t he realistically delegate that task to someone else? But, as I’m sure you’re screaming at me right now, then we would have no story!!
Overall, I would give The Hunger Games 4 out of 5 stars. It’s engaging and entertaining, provocative and interesting.