Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Take Tuesday: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Some books are just so good, you have to read them again. And some books deserve a second chance. And some books I think about and change my opinion or have more to say. Take Tuesday is a chance to do just that. 

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication Date: 9/14/08
Pages: 374
Previous Readings: 2010 / March 2, 2012
Date Completed This Time: January 1, 2015

Summary: Does anyone actually need a summary of this book by now? Just in case... Katniss Everdeen lives in a post-apocalyptic America, now called Panem. Each year, the Capitol requires the 12 Districts to send two tributes to compete in The Hunger Games. The tributes are put in an arena and fight to the death while the country watches on television. Katniss ends up as a tribute when she volunteers in place of her younger sister. 

What I Thought Before: Here's what I wrote back in March of 2012. Basically, I expressed my love for the series and for Katniss, I avoided spoilers, and griped about Collins's stream of consciousness writing. Please ignore the comments I made claiming Veronica Roth is a better writer than Collins. I was young and foolish. I had no idea the Divergent series was going to end up being such a mess. That one comment is seriously one of my most regretted moments in the three years I have been blogging.

What I Think Now: I am a bigger Hunger Games fan now than ever before. I still recognize that Collins's writing is not perfect. In fact, reading the book again this time around (for my Adolescent Literature course) reminded me of some of those imperfections. However, the more times I read the series, the less worried I am about some of the writing and the more interested I am in the conversation it creates.

Case in point: The Girl Who Was on Fire, an awesome collection of essays about the series. Each essay is written by another YA author and focuses on a different attribute of the series. I strongly recommend reading this one if you are a Hunger Games fan. It will really challenge you to think more deeply about the series and its messages.

Recently, in doing some research for a project in my Adolescent Literature course, I came across a couple great quotes about the book I wanted to share with you. I think they give a great perspective on the book's faults and triumphs.
Nor is there anything spectacular about the writing — the words describe the action and little else. But the considerable strength of the novel comes in Collins’s convincingly detailed world-building and her memorably complex and fascinating heroine. In fact, by not calling attention to itself, the text disappears in the way a good font does: nothing stands between Katniss and the reader, between Panem and America....Collins sometimes fails to exploit the rich allegorical potential here in favor of crisp plotting, but it’s hard to fault a novel for being too engrossing. ("Scary New World", John Green, The New York Times)
THE 17-year-old girl at the center of the revolution is a great character without being exactly likable. Katniss is bossy, moody, bratty, demanding, prickly. She treats the world with an explosive aggression that is a little out of the ordinary, to say the least. She greets one admirer’s expression of love by knocking him down, slams a door on another’s face during an argument, shoots an arrow at a panel of judges before the Games begin and threatens a mentor with a knife when he says something she doesn’t like. In short, she belongs to a recent tribe of popular heroines: the small, difficult teenage girl who manifests enormous physical and moral strength. She is both murderer and victim, somehow representing female strength and female vulnerability all mingled and entwined, dangerously, ambiguously, into one. She is Pippi Longstocking. She is the girl with the dragon tattoo. She is mesmerizing in her way of defying authority, antisocial, courageous, angry, self-involved and yet somehow sweepingly sympathetic. ("Survivor", Katie Roiphe, The New York Times)
While we're talking about Hunger Games, this is a great time to share some exciting news with you! The topic for my thesis has been officially decided! I am going to be writing about the symbolism of food in literature and movies, focusing on The Hunger Games series! I'm so excited about this topic. I have a lot of developing and thought left to do, but I think it's going to be great! If you can think of any books or movies in which food plays an important role or is used symbolically, I would absolutely love to hear your suggestions. 

Rating: ★★★★★
Will I Re-Read: For sure. 
If You Liked This Try: The Girl Who Was on Fire / Wool / Relic
Other Books By Suzanne Collins: Catching Fire / Mockingjay

A Reduced Review: The book that took the dystopian YA world by storm, this novel offers action and romance and prompts important conversations about our culture and future.

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