Wednesday, April 4, 2012
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Do I like it? Good question. It is very well written.. intriguing.. definitely draws you in and hooks you (takes a few chapters though) and honestly, I will probably read the other 2 books in the series because too much is left hanging at the end of book one.
And yet, the subject matter is not an easy one. It is not really as gruesome or gory or gross as you might have heard (although there are a few scenes I felt comfortable skimming over). The heaviness, to me, is the overall subject .... this idea of a society that has fractured and sectioned off itself in such a way that it is a bit like a Caste system. And then to create a sport that is so vile and goes so against the moral grain. And yet (seems to be an "and yet" theme here), we really do this already in many ways. Think of the shows we watch on television... many, many of them pit people from different walks of life against each other to fight it out to the end... not death, but a set end. Survivor, the Apprentice, even things like those beat 'em up shows.. American Gladiator and the like. I know there are others, I am just not a huge fan of reality shows. Even our sports lean towards this... look at how vehemently some watch football and how they want a rough and tough game. And the thing is the more we watch, the more we want and the more we want the more we watch.. a vicious cycle. And that is a big part of The Hunger Games. The ultimate reality show and the spectators while at time repulsed by it want more and more.. more scandal, more action, more blood.
This is a work of fiction and can be read as just a story.. but if we are honest while reading we will see ourselves, our culture, in the midst of it. Collins has just taken it to an extreme to make a point. One I hope we all see and take.