The Obligatory Hunger Games Entry

Just imagine for a moment that a book you've written has not only become a wildly popular book, but also been optioned for a movie and it's the most hotly anticipated movie of the season. You know, I have a really good imagination, but even I can't believe that. By the end of next week how many people will not have seen The Hunger Games?

Now, I'm an English teacher, so anything that gets kids to crack a book, even those awful Twilight books, I'm a fan. Honestly, I would prefer that they like a well written book with a strong character and a beautifully detailed world. And that's what The Hunger Games have. It's not a cheerful book. It's not a beautiful utopian world. It's brutal, cold and cruel with a main character who is not always the most admirable person, but she's the right person. It's complicated with twisted political intrigues that kept me guessing and I'm not bragging when I say that I can usually see what's coming in most young adult books. This book kept me guessing.

On the writing side . . . it's a wonderfully written book. The story telling is tight, but not so fast that you feel like you're careening around on a roller coaster. There's enough world building to really bring it to life in your mind, but not so much that the story bogs down. The main character, Katniss, is one of my favorites--capable and strong yet with a strain of vulnerability that she hides with an iron resolve.

I recommend them to anyone who wants a compelling, haunting and well-written read. However, it's not a book for everyone. It's a brutally cruel world with a wealth of violence. It's a post-apocalyptic future where an iron-handed government forces the populace to sacrifice their most precious possessions, their children, to the whims of the corrupt government.

It really speaks to me right now as I prepare to teach the Holocaust to my students. The writer of the Holocaust memoir we read, I Have Lived A Thousand Years says in the introduction that she worries about the youth of today. She worries that they are becoming desensitized to violence. It's a common theme we've seen in the last several years with the improvement of video games and CG technology lending more and more realism to such brutal scenes. The Hunger Games shows, like a lot of science fiction, an extreme of that worry; a world where a corrupt government forces the populace to watch their children battle to the death on the big screen. Of course, there's more in the books and that's why I like them, but then I have a weakness for post-apocalyptic fiction--must have come from my dad taking me to see Red Sonja when I was little. 


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