Friday, January 20, 2012
Excellent Reads: Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games"
Young adult fiction has made an impact on American pop culture. You can add world pop culture into the mix if you really want to. Series' such as Harry Potter and Twilight have stirred up a ton of conversation, whether this be good or bad. Harry Potter was a well written series with a brilliantly created utopia filled with wizards. I'm not a fanatic for the series and feel indifferent about the remainder of the legacy. I have never read Twilight, but have heard of the concepts and do not agree with them. I'm a fan of the genre of horror fiction, which includes everything from the supernatural, the psychological aspects, to the structure of the characters. The structure of the creatures, vampires and werewolves in this case, is poor (vampires that sparkle, c'mon!!!).
I decided to begin reading The Hunger Games, because I liked the concept. A reality competition in which districts fight against one another in order to survive, due to a punishment that came about after natural disasters reduced America as a disaster land known as Panem. A lot could be done with such a concept. I watch reality and game shows, began reading Stephen King's The Long Walk and finished reading The Running Man, two works that featured a competition that could really mean life and death. On Survivor, the worst that could happen is that you're eliminated from the competition and you go home having wasted time on a deserted island. In novels like The Hunger Games, you could never come out alive.
The story concentrates on Katniss Everdeen, who comes from District 12. This is the coal mining district and the lowest of the low... at least ever since District 13 was destroyed. Her father died in a mining explosion and her mother lost her sanity. This meant Katniss became in charge of the family, which includes her mother and sister, Prim. Katniss enjoys spending time in the woods, hunting and gathering with a male friend of hers named Gale.
The Hunger Games is a major event run by the authorities of Panem. People treat the event with more commitment than they treat any form of entertainment. A big deal is made out of everything. You have a male and female from each district selected to compete, then there's the makeup, the interviews, the reality show aspect, the side betting, the sponsors, and the audience participation and interaction with the show. This all occurs with young lives on the line. The feeling feels much like the Vietnam War meeting "The Running Man."
For the story aspect, Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister when her sister is chosen and is joined by a guy named Peeta Mellark. The competition is only the beginning of things. The way that the competition plays out and the influence of the authorities and society makes the competition all the more juicy.
I'm a fan of the first book of the series! I like the concept of a reality show that actually plays as being a big deal. It plays much more of a big deal than just about anything else, because there are innocent lives that are on the line. Thinking of it that way may come off as being immoral, but the fact that this may be our future is far more possible than we could imagine. The fact that someone is being forced to tribute themselves for a decision that they didn't even make plays a lot like the drafting process during the Vietnam War. The fury that comes out with such an idea is what makes the story so good. I also like the development of the characters, all of them serve a purpose.
It's also a surprise that Suzanne Collins worked behind the scenes with Nick Jr. She then goes ahead and creates a series that is considered young adult fiction, but much of this comes from the fact that there are young adults participating in the series. This is extremely dark, incredibly violent, and paints a drastic picture of a disastrous future. I will not suggest approaching this book with caution, because I do not believe in literary censorship. If you can handle the concept, then go right ahead and enjoy, because there's a lot to enjoy.
If this were a regular book review, the Verdict for this book would be a 10/10, just like the majority of my excellent reads.