Sunday, January 16, 2011

CB #3 The Hunger Games

 The Hunger Games  by Suzanne Collins   YA
                Here’s the thing about living with a bunch of library students. When one person’s read something that she loves… well she really want to talk about it. So once two of my roommates had read The Hunger Games trilogy, I simply had to or else I would be left out of the conversation. It was definitely worth it, and highly engrossing. I read the entire trilogy in a week.
                The first novel,The Hunger Games, was described to me as “Survivor meets 1984”. I’d describe it as Battle Royale but they didn’t go to high school together. In the distant future, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event in which two children (12-18) are taken from each of the twelve districts of what remains of North America and forced to kill each other. The victor is the only survivor and he or she brings honor (and more food) to their district. In reality, the games are a way for the Capitol to demonstrate its power over the other states. Every year they kill some of the district’s children, and therefore some of the district’s hope for the future.
                Katniss is the narrator and she’s prickly. Or at least she likes to think so. I know that she’s supposed to be hardened, but in my mind she’s really sweet. When her sister’s name is drawn for the Games, Katniss immediately takes her place. She doesn’t even think. So for me, everything she does is coloured by that act, especially when she acts tough. Unfortunately, the other person from District 12 is Peeta, whose act of kindness towards Katniss helped her turn her life around and care for her family after her father’s death. It’s hard to know that you may have to kill the person who helped you save your life.
                Sometimes Katniss is a little bit too media savvy as she plays the Games. She knows that there are always cameras so she tries to do things to win over the audience. She knows that they can sponsor her and send her food, water, medicine and weapons. Sometimes her savvy comes across as a bit much. However, other than that she comes across as a real person. I’ll talk about her relationship with love in the review for Mockingjay, because I think it’s an overall series issue for sure.
                Overall, I loved this book and as soon as I finished it, I had to read the other two. I would like to mention that the participants in the Hunger Games are far more brave than I would be. The second I was able to, I’d run as far away as I could and then cry in a curled up ball until someone found me and killed me. Instead, Katniss is able to pick up some helpful items, make some allies and SPOILER (but it’s a trilogy so you knew this) survive.


  1. I wonder what brow of literature Bongie would slot this one under. Ha. Sub-brow. Subterranean-brow. I just finished this yesterday and loved it because it was soooo exciting. Even capital L Literature can't keep me that intrigued a lot of the time. My problems with the novel were these: 1) At first it reminded me WAY too much of "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, so it felt like a knock-off, although it improved, and 2) Katniss could be a real moron! I mean, I can see if she isn't the experienced with men how she doesn't get it, but 200 pages of not getting it is a bit much! I've just put the second book on hold at the library, maybe she'll redeem herself and smarten up (I didn't read your reviews of the rest of the trilogy).

  2. Bongie would go with subterranean-brow. The narrative is too straight forward. There would need to be some real post modern twists to save it from that label. It definitely doesn't feel completely original, but if we learned anything from Cambridge that doesn't mean that it's not still good. I'm glad you liked it.