The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

So in case you’ve been living in a hole and not hearing about The Hunger Games – it’s a grim, grim dystopian future, and every year the government makes each of the twelve districts send one boy and one girl (ages 12-18) to participate in the Hunger Games where they all get placed in a specially designed Perilous Terrain and fight to the death on live TV.  Katniss, our dauntless protagonist, volunteers to take her little sister’s place, and the other tribute turns out to be the baker’s son Peeta (I know, right?), who once saved Katniss and her family by giving them bread when they were starving.  And while they’re there, Peeta declares his love for her – this is great television – and she’s all, Oh it’s a ploy to get audience sympathy la la la while Peeta pines away and she tries to decide whether she likes Peeta best or whether she wants her sexy woodlands lover Gale.  Oh, and they also participate the Hunger Games where everyone tries to kill everyone else.  This takes up a lot of time.

Why is the kid’s name Peeta?  Seriously.  It’s fine for Katniss having a stupid name because everyone already loves her (and I’m sorry to report that Gale calls her Catnip), but since she is going to eventually have to choose between Peeta and Gale (I assume – I mean she could go all Pocahontas and end up marrying some random stranger, or she could do something really radical and not ever find a life-mate), I feel like having him named after a yeasty flatbread puts him at a disadvantage.

Ahem, but never mind all that.  The rumors are true!  The Hunger Games was pretty good.  It is more redemptive than the dreadfully depressing Life As We Knew It, and the supporting cast is less sickening than in How I Live Now, so hooray for dystopian YA novels that induce neither nightmares nor vomiting.  And includes a Juvenal reference that pleased me because I like that “bread and circuses” bit but annoyed because without a book-truth way to explain why the country is called that, it seemed gimmicky.  But that is my mostly only complaint (I mean, that and how clueless Katniss was, for heaven’s sake)!  I liked the Minotaury quality to the whole thing, and the extent to which it was exactly like reality TV is in the real world.

Other thoughts:

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My fingers are tired – let me know if I missed yours.

13 thoughts on “The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

  1. Pingback: Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins « YA Fabulous » keeping it awesome since 2007

    • Yep, I read it because everyone on my blogroll seemed to be reading it. Plus they had it at the library when I was there the last time. It’s funny how some books make the rounds and you see them absolutely everywhere you turn.

  2. So it’s like a cross between Battle Royale, The Long Walk, and The Running Man? For young adults? Sounds fun.

    • That’s what I hear. I want to get hold of Battle Royale, but I am way too frightened of Stephen King to read the other two. I haven’t read any of his books. I haven’t watched or read The Shining. Never yet heard a compelling enough argument to convince me to change this policy…

  3. The thing about The Running Man and The Long Walk is that they were part of the Bachman Books first, novel/las he wrote under a pseudonym that differed from the rest of his oeuvre. They aren’t horror at all, at least not in the supernatural or psycho killer way. They’re more about man’s inhumanity to man, and the triumph of the human spirit, and whatnot.

    • That’s what everyone says about The Shining! But it looks really scary to me! I have a low, low, low tolerance for suspense; not in love with man’s inhumanity to man, either – Lord of the Flies freaked me out so, so much. Maybe I’ll try some Stephen King sometime, though, because I’ve heard a lot of good things about him. (But not Misery. Yuck.)

  4. Whomever said that about The Shining is a liar! Or delusional! Or possibly in deep denial! For real, that book is terrifying. The first time I read it when I was twelve, I got up and turned on every light in the house–even though it was a sunny afternoon and I lived on a busy street. It was that creepy. It still gives me the heebie jeebies, especially if I’m up late reading it … alone … in the dark …


    • I knew they were lying, and they both told me that Silence of the Lambs (I know, different author) was “not that scary”. SO MANY LIES. I know what they do in those books! I’m not having any of it!

  5. Pingback: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins | Iris on Books

  6. Huh, I never had the flaybread thought for Peeta until you mentioned it! I just let it be PETER but pronounced like they do in Massachusetts! Too funny.
    Just got back from the movie….

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