So many people have recommended The Hunger Games to me that I figured I ought to read it before the movie came out, on the off chance that I might actually have a chance to see it. No movie yet, but I finished the book two weeks ago. I really enjoyed it. The first page hooked me. As a writer, I admire the author’s use of first person present tense. Most books are written in past tense. Present tense is challenging, but I think Susan Collins pulled it off well. It really created an immediacy with Katniss, who is ranking up there with some of my favorite young heroines.
Even though I haven’t seen the movie, I’ve heard a lot of about it, how the violence (really, this is a book about children fighting to the death and killing each other) was more implied than shown for the film, and a few of the changes from the book. So far the people I know who have seen it and read the book give it a thumbs up. I keep thinking about the irony of portraying The Hunger Games on the big screen. The main point of the book is that these Districts are being brutally oppressed and forced to send a boy and a girl to fight in the games, which are televised for the entire populace to see. As retribution for a rebellion that I really wanted to know more about as I was reading. Maybe that’s in the next book, which I haven’t read yet (no spoilers, please!). But the book shows how twisted society has become, that murder televised live is entertainment. And here we are, flocking to the movie that allows us to see the Hunger Games in all their “glory.” As part of the hype, people are even choosing which District they’d be from. I wonder if they have the proper amount of horror when the Tributes from their chosen District are killed?
Yes, I know it’s just a book. It’s not real, so I can’t be outraged about it. But the book drew me into that world and made me think. What if those things really happened… What if the people stood up and took a stand against the Games… What if they’d had enough and refused to let another child die. Katniss plants some of those seeds.
Fortunately we don’t live in that world, but there’s plenty of hatred and violence to go around in our own. What if we all did the right thing? Too much to ask?