I read The Hunger Games during Dewey’s 24 hour read-a-thon. And I loved it. But really–what could I possibly say about ti that hasn’t been said already?
First off, if you haven’t read The Hunger Games by now, you’ve at least heard of it, which leads me to believe that those of you who haven’t read it are actually pretty stubborn. I was in the same boat. I saw this book everwhere but kept telling myself that it wasn’t my schtick. And then I got tired of being the odd man out. So I bought it (along with Catching Fire) then waited anxiously for the read-athon because I wanted to save it and by then I had convinced myself I would absolutely love it. And right I was!
Katniss Everdeen is a sixteen year old who lives in a world where the government subjects the population to a horrible tradition known as the Hunger Games. Children from the age of eleven up until eighteen are chosen at random to compete in the games–two from each district. Katniss belongs to the twelfth, and last district. Hers is a district that has only ever won the games twice in over decades and decades, so the district is filled with hopelessness and shame. Although they are supposed to act celebratory during the tribute ceremony, where the tributes (ie the two competitors from disrict 12) are chosen, the mood is sullen and Katniss, along with her peers, all fear that they will be chosen. However, it is not Katniss but her younger sister Primrose who is chosen at random as a tribute, and suddenyl Katniss is forced to make a terrible decision. She knows Primrose will die if she goes in. But Katniss is equally convinced that she herself has no chance of winning the games. Even so, she cannot fathom allowing her sister to compete, so she boldly offers herself up instead. Katniss then begins the journey to the secret location of the Hunger Games, along with Peeta, the male tribute from District 12, where they first train and then begin the wretched game. And thus begins the book . . .
I read that Collins got her inspiration from flipping back and forth on the TV between a reality TV show and war coverage. Eventually, she said, it”began to blur in this very unsettling way”. I found her remark to be very interesting. It’s true that many times dystopic literature can be a heightened portrayal of current social situations. And I think a lot of that can be seen in The Hunger Games. For one, social standing still plays a large role. The poorer you are, the more likely you are to be entered for the games because you receive charity if you are willing to enter more than once–something Katniss has been forced to do. The scare tactics used by the government in the book are also based on reality, although magnified to an extreme in this instance. The Games are a way to force the people to see that they have no choice but to obey their government. And obey they do–some districts even going so far as to believe that entering the Games is an honor. These districts train their youth almost from birth so that they may be able to succeed if they are lucky enough to be given the chance at becoming a tribute.
The second book in this trilogy, Catching Fire, came out about two months ago. I have it waiting in my TBR pile–hopefully I’ll be able to get to it soon. There is also a third book, completing the trilogy, which is supposed to be released sometime next year. From what I understand, Ms Collins is still writing it. I can assure you though, I will be pre-ordering a copy as soon as I am able!
Collins is also adapting The Hunger Games for film, so that should be interesting. I am not a movie person, in general, but I will make it a priority to see The Hunger Games on film once it comes out!
The Hunger Games counts toward the YA Dystopian Reading Challenge going on right now over at Bart’s Bookshelf!
Here are some reviews–once again, there are too many to list all of them. However, if you have reviewed this book and would like me to post a link, just leave the link in the comments section of this post.