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Monday, January 16, 2012

And Now, The Moment You've All Been Waiting For...

Because the poster is pretty cool, too.
Or at least, the moment I've been waiting for.

My overall review/reaction/thoughts on The Hunger Games. 

After the encouragement of my favorite high school teacher Miss Elise, I requested The Hunger Games on-line at my local library and promptly proceeded to read it straight through in one night. Because I can't stop when I have a book like that just waiting for me to read.

My thoughts?

(Spoilers if you have not read the books!! Proceed with caution, thanks.)

A) With apologies to my reader's tender ears--Katniss is an unintentional bad-ass. B) However, WHY is she so suspicious/mean to Peeta when it's (sort of freaking) obvious that he loves her? Give the poor boy the benefit of the doubt, dear. C) RUE. OH MY GOSH, RUE. Suzanne Collins, why would you do that???? D) Katniss and I would get along well together on the days I feel like taking someone's head off. Because I get like that sometimes.

In a more serious I was reading the book, I did identify Katniss more than I anticipated. She and I both have this fierce, overwhelming tie to our family, our responsibilities. The part that touched me the most was the beginning, when Katniss desperately volunteers as tribute to save her little sister. Now, I don't live in dystopian future in which I could sent to a reality TV show where I'm required to kill twenty-three other people to survive. But I kept asking myself, if my little sister was taken away as a death sentence, if my crazy, sweet, illogical Julianna was going away to be killed...would I stand up and take her place, though no one else would? And the answer came back every time...Yes. I would go.  I'd be running forward, screaming, to save my little sister.

I think the truest thing about Katniss is that she's not your run-of-the-mill, typical kick-ass warrior maid out to avenge her family. She's a young woman with some remarkable talents who's put in extraordinary circumstances and made a promise to the little sister she fiercely loves. She won't go into the arena and say, "Oh yeah guys, I got this."  She'll go in and do her duty, but her driving force is always, "I promised my sister I would come home. I need to get back to my family."

Obviously, Katniss is not perfect. She and I both have walls we put up around ourselves, walls we can't take down for fear of someone taking advantage of us. Katniss is also unaware of her qualities, her good parts, because she's so determined as to not appear weak or needy to those around her. Albeit, she's in bad circumstances. She's the only caretaker/provider in her home, since she feels she can't trust her mother to take care of Prim. In essence, she's completely unaware of herself, something I can (painfully) relate to. I've always been more aware of my faults, foibles and inability than the things I can do. Fortunately, I have people who tell me that I do have talents, that things I think aren't so special are important and useful. Katniss doesn't allow herself that luxury, because the way she lives just doesn't allow that.

And as to Peeta...sigh. The boy has rapidly become one of my favorite heroes, just because he puts up with Katniss's suspicion and distrust with good humor and patience. I kept getting the urge to hug him throughout the book.

Now, in another much more serious most of you might be aware, The Hunger Games movie is coming out this March. Now that I've kept to my own principle and read the book, I'm going to make a serious effort to go and watch it. There is some deep-rooted irony here about Hollywood making a movie about a dystopian future where young men and women go on a reality TV show to kill each off one by one. I could also be supremely cynical and say that Hollywood is trying to capitalize on making another franchise out of a successful book series now that Harry Potter is over and The Twilight Saga is winding down. But I dislike being cynical, it disturbs my sleep. I was under the impression Suzanne Collins had more to say on the affects of war and violence on teenagers than our society's acceptance of violence in the media. But I think The Hunger Games is an excellently-written story, and more suited to a sweeping epic drama than other book series.

This is sort of what I wanted to say and think about when I was done reading the book: Is our current-day society becoming like Panem in Katniss's world? Where the rich entertain themselves by watching people kill and die, where the poor grit their teeth and suffer as the rich enjoy the pain and violence?

I don't know, honestly. I don't think so. I hope not. But we do take an awful pleasure in watching people get hurt or make fools out of themselves, don't we? I think of shows like Wipeout! or America's Funniest Home Videos. The ones that get the biggest laughs are the ones where people get hurt in spectacular ways. Me, I don't like that. I don't find any humor or amusement in seeing people fall, get whacked in the face, or hitting their heads or any other part of their bodies (I find groin jokes the least amusing). Maybe that makes me a big, fat, kill-joy prude with no sense of humor, but I don't care. I don't like seeing people get hurt.

With that said, I can only hope that we do pay heed to the warning of Katniss and District 12--There is no pleasure or satisfaction in pitting people against each other in violent contests. I think sometimes we forget the fact that someone's pain or agony isn't just entertainment, it's real. And I think we need to remember how to respect it.

As a final note...because I am completely shallow, the trailer is pretty dang cool, too. *sheepish grin*

Over & Out,

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