One week ago – I had never heard of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I decided to read the book while in transit and I finished it in two sittings. As you’ll probably be hearing a lot more about it over the next few days as it opened as the number one movie in Australia – here are my thoughts on it.*
The Hunger Games is a dystopia set in North America and told from the first person perspective (the last book I read in this voice was Robinson Crusoe for what it’s worth). The political world is heavily influenced by 1984 and (I suspect) Kurt Russell’s Escape from New York. The story is based on an annual event where two teenagers from each district are chosen at lottery to represent their district in mortal combat in a televised arena.
The main character is redemptive choosing at key points to sacrifice herself for the needs of others. This plays well against the backdrop of adolescent gladiators. She fights for love and family – others fight for glory and honor.
There is a strong satirical emphasis on the correlation between violence and entertainment. I think that this topic in particular would be a worthwhile discussion when talking about the book with people who have read it. The description of the violence is not gratuitous by today’s standards. That being said – friends who have read the book have called it “dark” and “creepy.”
If you’ve read “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell – you have a good idea of The Hunger Games.
I would encourage you to read it (it will take no more than three hours) – if only for the opportunity to build relationships with people who have. I didn’t know anything about it seven days ago but I have already had several thought provoking opportunities since reading it.
- If your teenager reads Potter, Twilight, or Eragon they have probably already read The Hunger Games – so go and ask them what they thought of the book.
- Here’s a link to my favorite review of Twilight by Sydney’s Miranda Devine.
- I haven’t seen the movie.