The Hunger Games

Date Sat, August 6 2011

The Hunger GamesI first heard of this book on Lavish because some of the ladies were excited that it’s being made into a movie. Then, when I asked for some light reading on GoodReads, someone suggested it there. The next time I ordered from Amazon, I purchased the book along with two others.

Now, I hadn’t heard of it and hadn’t even really paid attention to the synopsis when I began it but it’s summed up pretty easily. In a post-apocalyptic word, North America has become the country known as Panem. Panem now consists of twelve districts, some of which are barely ghettos, after the strict government crushed a rebellion and desecrated the former thirteenth district. Each year, the central government holds a drawing for one boy and girl fom each district and transports the pairs to a constructed game arena where the participants must fight to the death.

The Hunger Games follows Katniss, a girl of 17 or so, from district twelve, which happens to be the poorest of all the districts. What time Katniss doesn’t spend in school is dedicated to hunting and gathering outside the district fences to keep her family fed, despite the danger. The young woman steps in to take her younger’s place when she is culled for the games is soon joined by Peeta, a boy with whom she is somewhat familiar. The two head off to the central city where they begin training and are soon fighting for their lives.

Katniss is human and relatable as she struggles with the idea that she will eventually have to kill–or be killed by–a boy who has once shown her kindness as well as the other competitors. We follow her as she doubts her abilities, especially in comparison to others who have been able to train for the games, but proves to be not only a capable but compassionate tribute (the name for the competitors). Because of this, the plot twists and the rules of the game change. Katniss proves to be a game-changer through-out the book, a fact which is not lost on the Capitol which has, until now, used the Hunger Games as a way to keep the districts in line. Although the plot surely cannot end well, the book isn’t so uncomfortable that I wanted to put it down lest I take my own life. Katniss is level-headed and focuses on the here and now, which helps the reader do so as well.

Suzanne Collins keeps the plot of her book ever-moving. I really enjoyed this book and finished it in a time period a little over 24-hours. I spent five hours, give or take, reading it in all. It moves quickly and while you could put it down and walk away for a while, I’m not sure why you would. I’m excited for the next book in the series, as well as the movie.

Collins also throws in some humor to temper the life-or-death seriousness of the plot. This is especially apparent when Katniss speaks or thinks or acts. It is the humor, the compassionate, the self-doubt that brings out the humanity in The Hunger Games and kept me hanging on until the very end. Good on you, Suzanne Collins.

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