Saturday, November 9, 2013

Two Reviews: The Hunger Games

I'm so far down the rabbit hole on this one I'm not sure I can really get into anything else until I'm "allowed" to get into the second part of this trilogy. Going from deciding this is a lame story for kids, to thinking about the characters and their motives while I'm raking leaves... seriously. So far down. But, despite this, I'm moving right along this month. I picked up the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins more out of curiosity than anything else. It seems like a lot of what I've been reading lately has not been planned! But, that's part of the fun.

The Hunger Games was written several years back but has become a huge hit and was made into a movie. I probably don't need to hype it up much more than that since Jennifer Lawrence has become a household name. This series was written for youth, but, it's surprisingly gruesome and violent (granted, that's up to your imagination) and gained a wide following. I finished reading the book in a work week. As usual, this fictional story took time to pull me in; it didn't take long though. Collins uses a first person present perspective through the eyes of the book's protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. Because of this style, she writes simply and to the point; we are in the mind of Katniss experiencing each moment as she is. This is not a story telling but rather, a live account of a character's life. We're brought into the story through the eyes and thoughts of Katniss.

The story is set in a dystopian future where the people live in Panem--the remnants of North America. The rich and advanced live in the Capitol, enslaving the surrounding districts by exploiting them for specific purposes. This keeps each of the districts in some sort of oppressed state where they live to provide and work for the citizens of the Capitol. We are provided little background about what happened for the world to arrive at this state of opposing wealth and extreme poverty.

I'm not sure if Collins had the intention to talk about specific themes in the book but my take of the primary theme is that it's a satire of reality television. The games themselves are staged and controlled in a way which the gamemakers analyze and create situations to improve ratings in the Capitol. Though all the districts are required to watch, not for entertainment but because they are forced to, in part of the punishment of their Treaty of Treason, the people of the Capitol watch purely for entertainment. They have no connection to the tributes whereas those in the districts are hoping that their tribute won't die. It's a matter of survival for those of the district and for fun, in the Capitol. The lives of those in the districts is hard and real whereas those living in the Capitol are seemingly frivolous and fake. Even in one part of the book, Katniss reflects about the absurd values that those in the Capitol have about appearance.

I couldn't read the book and not watch the movie--especially since it was released on Netflix. The movie was pretty true to the story of the book but as expected, could not capture the first person present perspective and as someone who read the book before watching the movie (never ever read the book AFTER watching the movie!), I found it shallow and lacking depth of character. In addition to this, the camera angles and styles the director chose was making me sick! I suspect it was done to capture the first person perspective of the action but I was eating dinner watching it and had to sit further away during chase scenes so I could keep my meal down.

Nevertheless, I am excited about the second installment of the trilogy and am anticipating my literary palette cleanser before falling back down the rabbit hole ;)


  1. Maybe I should pick this up too. Is it like Battle Royale?

    1. it's worth the read. you'll probably finish it quickly too. it's quite engaging.

  2. Replies
    1. yahoo! don't forget to watch the movie afterwards too. it's worth to see how screen writers (or whoever does it) turns a book into a movie/show