Some Thoughts on The Hunger Games

Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

The Hunger Games never sounded like my kind of literature.  Yet I couldn’t help noticing the popularity of the books and movies, and the more I thought about it, the more the story’s premise became so repulsive it became intriguing.  How to write something like this?  Someday I would have to investigate.

My hand was forced when I took a two-day substitute teaching job as an aide for a young man in a wheelchair earlier this year.  His high school had decided to study The Hunger Games in English Literature, beginning with the first movie.  So I got to watch about 40 percent of the movie with him in class.

That did it!  I downloaded the Trilogy to my Kindle and started reading.  Then I was blessed with some recent downtime and was able to finish all three books this past week.

It was quite a story.  I thought it was brilliantly written.  I liked the first-person narrative; much of the time I felt like I was reading someone’s diary.  Suzanne Collins has mastered the art of the cliffhanger chapter ending, and it wasn’t until the third part of the third book that I was able to even guess what was about to happen.   It had an “economy of plot points” in that every concept that was mentioned had eventual significance.  It was violent, but also emotional and intellectual; most of the time I would read a handful of pages, then stop to digest — how does this fit in and what am I being set up for?

Despite that, I rated it four stars out of five because the ending didn’t give me a satisfying feeling — a bit too violent, a bit too much loss, some areas that could’ve used a bit more explaining.  Not that I could’ve made it better; deep down inside, I know to soften the story would’ve lessened its impact.  It was written the way it had to be written.  Still….

And no, I don’t think I can handle watching the rest of the movies.

 

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