I was recently whining a little bit because of a New Year's resolution I had made, in which I'd said I'd do my best to read every book my two daughters recommended to me this year. I really, really didn't want to read this book, partly because I find most post-apocalyptic books fairly distressing, particularly when the rest of my life is busy and crazy and problematic, so that when I retreat into a book I'd rather have it not be such an emotionally turbulent experience. The other reason was that I understood the premise of the book, and I really didn't feel like letting myself in for a depressing time, because I was bound to get attached to some of the kids who were going to be sent into the ring to fight to the death. It just sounded so unrelentingly grim.
So I really went to this book kicking and screaming (figuratively. I'm not that much of a drama queen. Honestly). But in the end, I have to say I really enjoyed the book. The writing didn't exactly set me on fire (no pun intended) - at times it was a bit awkward and repetitive. But I loved Katniss, and I loved the strength of her voice and its honesty, and it is her first person narration of this harrowing story that sucked me in and kept me reading. I won't go into details of the plot - no sense wasting time on that these days, with all the furor and hype surrounding the book and the movie (which we saw and thoroughly enjoyed). But if there's anyone out there who hasn't read this book for the reasons I mentioned above, let me just say that you might want to give it a shot.
First of all, there is violence and there is loss, yes, but it really isn't emotionally manipulative. Collins doesn't set you up, Old Yeller style, to then stomp your heart to pieces (which is what I was worried about). The book really focuses on the effects of the violence, of the way this society works. It really a survival story.
The other thing I love about this book is that boys are reading it. Boys are crazy about this book that is told by a girl, which is a pretty rare and unusual thing. She is a strong, admirable female character, and I love that boys and girls both are enjoying the series. I haven't yet continued with the next book, although I suppose I will. I like where this one ended, and I think I'll just let it be for a while before I move on. But yes, I'm glad I read this one, and I'm not regretting that New Year's resolution after all.
Books in the Hunger Games trilogy:
1. The Hunger Games
2. Catching Fire
The Hunger Games (#1 in the Hunger Games trilogy) by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press, 2008)