Add one C Battle Royale
stir in 1/2 C The Long Walk
and sprinkle generously with The Lord of the Flies
Lastly, garnish with a hint of Twilight
I was ready right away to not like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I’d already seen posters and all manner of advertising fodder for the 2012 movie and had written it off as another teeny-bopper series that was going to get more attention and fame than it deserved (think Twilight, as if I have to say it.) However I needed something to read (can’t be without my “bathroom reading material”) and it looked like a short read at any rate, so I dug in.
It’s your typical tale of the underdog struggling in a post-modern apocalyptic-like dystopia. As I intimated above, it is reminiscent of quite a few different tales I’ve read or seen on screen before, only it’s geared, in both writing style and choice of characters, to a “young adult” audience.
The story is narrated by the main character, 16 year old Katniss Everdeen, and is told in present tense, which is somewhat of a welcome deviation of the normal first or third person past tense normally employed in most books. It not only serves to keep you in close to the character’s feelings and thoughts, but also makes the ending of the story a bit more ambiguous. After all, if she told the story in past tense, it would be fairly obvious that she had to have survived the “games”. This way, you are not 100% sure where on the timeline she is standing as she tells her tale. This tactic is mostly successful, although being inside the mind of a teenager can be tiresome at times (once was enough, thank you.) I couldn’t help but roll my eyes as Katniss attempted to determine the motivation and feelings of her male counterpart, Peeta, in a series of linear questions posed to herself. Could he…? What if…? Is it possible? Or maybe..? Aside from giving us a blow-by-blow of typical teenage romance woes, it’s as if the author feels the need to spell things out for the audience…and maybe considering the target audience of the series, that was her intention. However, I prefer it when an author gives me a little more credit in my understanding of people and their interpersonal relationships. I’m pretty sure I could have handled it even when I was in the age range of the target audience.
However, all in all, it was a much more enjoyable read than I expected. I won’t hold out much hope for the films, as Hollywood always has a way of slicing and dicing books to fit the screen, until they are mere shadows of their former selves. However, I will be reading the rest of the books in the series. Who knows? I might even enjoy them.