Friday, January 21, 2011

60 Hours with Suzanne Collins

My middle sister told me about The Hunger Games last fall, saying that I had to add them to my book list, which I dutifully did, because I'm a diligent youngest child. I'm trying to be better about buying books, because I've run out of bookshelf space, so I looked at the library--only to find that The Hunger Games was on a wait list. And what a wait. I mean, I knew these books were popular (you can't enter a book store without seeing The Hunger Games trilogy on prominent display), but waiting for over two months to get my hands on a library copy really hammered that lesson into my memory. Amazingly though, it was worth the wait.

A fascinating read dealing with the overarching themes of war and government power, The Hunger Games is based in post-apocalyptic America, where a central government requires its surrounding districts to send two children (a boy and a girl) to compete in a gladiatorial fight to the death every year as a punishment for an uprising staged 75 years earlier. Fast paced and surprisingly full of philosophical meat, I was intrigued not only by the story line and characters, but also by Collins' ability to provide food for thought without beating the reader over the head with a moral. And then The Hunger Games ended. In a cliff hanger of epic proportions. And I faced another two month library wait.

Obviously, that wasn't an option. So I was seriously considering just buying the trilogy (and housing them in the guest bathroom, which is our last remaining pretense of shelf space) when I realized: online reading! And in less than forty-eight hours (I'd spent maybe 24ish on the first book, between things), I'd finished Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Amazingly, I also managed to do other productive things during that time. I have to say, I really enjoyed reading all three books. I thought it was an excellent perspective on violence and government and what it is that makes us human. I was describing the trilogy to a friend, likening it to Lord of the Flies thematically, but what I like about Collins' book, as opposed to Lord of the Flies, is the ray of hope, however faint, that is portrayed. Best yet, I loved that in the last book, Collins shatters that hope into a million pieces only to rebuild it piece by piece without pretending that it is unscarred or whole. She doesn't tie everything up in a pretty bow, but we aren't left with a bunch of cannibalistic children pretending nothing ever happened either.

At any rate, it was time worth spending. I am, however, curious to see what they do with the movies. The trilogy is geared toward a young adult audience, but there is such an extreme amount of violence and even some nudity that I don't know how they could accurately present the material without getting an R rating. Just a thought. Loved the books. Not sure I could handle the movies. I had to close my eyes in Castaway when Tom Hanks knocked his tooth out with the ice skate. Just saying...


  1. How did find them online? I'm still waiting for book two from the library myself!

  2. Oh, and your OLDEST sister started reading them before you did and reminded you that you should read them.

  3. I am also curious where you find this online share! :) Oh, and I did enjoy the first two of the trilogy, although I still have yet to get my hands on the third.

  4. Dear M, I can't find your email address! However, I read something today and thought of you and am therefore posting it here.

    Your Old Friend,

    Joseph W.

  5. You make me want to read them and I'm SURE I can't find them online. And yet I'm not too happy about reading about violence.