Book Club of One – The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

WARNING: There may be plot spoilers in the following review.
So, a few weeks ago I was having dinner with some friends and they asked me if I wanted to go see The Hunger Games with them the next day. Because I live under a rock, and usually avoid television and human contact, I asked “What’s that?” The response I got was one of disbelief. As in, how could I possibly not know what everyone on the planet is talking about… See above. Anyway, I got a brief rundown of the plot and thought to myself, “Panem? Like ‘Panem et circenses’? Oh, and they have a gladiator match… clever. I guess I might like this.”
I went and saw the movie, and it was entertaining, except for one thing, which I will get into. It was MORE entertaining when a small child a few seats down asked, very quietly, “Is she dead?” And then the canon fired and she said, “Yup. She’s dead.” I figured if I liked the movie, I’d probably like the book, since the books are usually better. I read the book and discovered that it’s not better than the movie. At all. Hear me out.
First, let me talk about the one thing about the movie (and the book) which I didn’t like. The biggest, most obvious thing. The thing which I could never, not even once, get out of my brain enough to enjoy the story. That thing is this idea that people would stand by, like sheep, and LET the Capitol pull two kids out and murder them. Sure, one kid gets to win and live like a king. But even a lottery addict will tell you, that shit won’t fly. The urge to protect our offspring is one of the strongest instincts we possess. I’m not a parent. I don’t even have siblings to volunteer for if their name was called. But I can swear to you that is someone threatened harm to one of any of my friend’s children, I would do everything in my power to kill that person, even when it’s obvious that I would die in the process. Hell, I might get just as protective over a kid I don’t even know. So there’s that thing. The one thing, which ruins the entire groundwork for the story because I just can’t suspend enough disbelief.
Now, why was the movie better than the book? Because I simply don’t understand a teenage girl’s brain. The book gives a lot more background on the world, a lot more explanation of random stuff, and a lot more depth to the characters. I did like that. It made some parts of the movie make more sense. (With the exception of that one big thing I couldn’t get past.) The movie sort of glosses all of this over and presents itself as more of an action movie. Book Gale? He’s obviously her best, maybe only, friend in the district and he’s the one who is going to care for her family when she gets murdered. It’s totally obvious that Katniss and Book Gale were meant to be together, even though she couldn’t realize it. Movie Gale? He’s just some dude who she chats up in the woods. Wait, there is that one scene later where he’s watching the broadcast of the games. Movie Peeta and Book Peeta were pretty much the same, and I can’t wait for her to kill him in the second book. (I warned you that there’d be spoilers, damn it. Though that statement isn’t spoiling what you think it’s spoiling.) But I was talking about a teenage girl’s brain, wasn’t I?
The book is written in first person, from Katniss Everdeen’s perspective. She is a cold, manipulative bitch. Yeah, yeah, she loves her little sister. But she hates the rest of the world. I guess I’d hate it to if I lived in that district. (Which mines coal… which is essential for the Capitol… the same Capitol that has powered force fields and hovercars… Really? They still need COAL? How is there even any coal left in the Appalachians at that point? Aren’t we supposed to run out of it in 2012? Isn’t that what they keep saying on the television shows I don’t watch?) So, anyway, Katniss is basically this calculating robot who weighs every action on how best it will benefit her. She’s obviously intelligent, as most robots are, but she knows nothing about interacting with people. Which is why she doesn’t see Gale as her soulmate until a later book, after she realizes that Peeta is also her soulmate, and the books basically become the fucking Twilight series triangle without sparkly vampires. (Although someone’s breath DOES smell like blood…) Maybe she’ll get pregnant and Gale, Peeta, and Prim will have to eat the baby out of her stomach… (I haven’t read those books, but I heard that actually happened in them. I thought it was a joke at first.)
When I started writing this, I was planning on giving an objective rundown of the story. After reading the first one, however, I immediately dove into the second one because surely these people would have to revolt, right? I mean, why write three books about just the games? But sure enough, they just keep on being oppressed for the first half of the second book… I was tempted to put it down at that point, but I know, at some point, there HAS To be a rebellion, which means closure and an end to the story, so I keep reading, even though I’ve already decided that I hate these books.

2 thoughts on “Book Club of One – The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins”

  1. I discovered, after the fact, that this is another book series from the Young Adult section. You know that section, right? The one where the Judy Blume books are? I think we all need to stop looking for the next Harry Potter success and just move back into the adult section of the bookstore.

  2. I haven’t seen the movie yet. The book is simply a longer version of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery with a slight twist (the games) and a love triangle. There isn’t an original thought in it. That said, I still found it engrossing enough, if only because I couldn’t figure out how Katniss could be such a cold bitch. I was also wondering what would happen if I was in a situation where I had to choose between my life and someone I love. Keep reading, you might like the third book 🙂

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