Warning: Don’t read this if you do not want to know anything about the Hunger Games movie or books.
I recently watched The Hunger Games movie and then read Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) and Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games).
I really enjoyed them honestly. I loved getting lost in a fiction book again; it was like going on a mini vacation whenever I opened the book. It was a great way for me to transition from the stress of being involved in a real political saga to just “ordinary” life again. It really helped get my mind off all the thoughts that have been consuming me for the last couple years, (even though you could say there were some related issues). It also gave me a break from some of the more chunky books I’ve been attempting to read through.
I was excited about watching the movie before I even knew about the books or how popular it is right now, especially amongst the younger crowd. The movie trailer caught my attention right away because I get excited about plots involving hypothetical ethical dilemmas, especially when paired with futuristic/sci-fi themes and a pinch or two of romance. The movie was exciting and both my husband and I enjoyed it and didn’t feel like it was really a “teenage” movie, and believe you me my husband would have said so if he did think so. But the movie left me a little confused so I wanted to read the books to fill in the missing gaps and, of course, the books were much more satisfying for me than the movie but I’m still glad I saw the movie too, though I wonder what difference it would have made if I’d read the books first and then the movie.
I loved the pace of the books. The writing wasn’t overly complicated but still had enough luster to thrill me. Once I started I couldn’t seem to put it down or think about much else besides Katniss, Peeta (probably my favorite character), and Gale and what would happen to them next. Although I felt like the first two books had a better balance between the political, action, and romantic themes while the third was mostly depressing…which is usually how war time is. However, the ending was incredibly satisfactory and I went to bed feeling like all was well with the world again. 🙂
Now, when I read these books I was reading them more for personal entertainment purposes than with a critical eye, which was nice for a change. I wasn’t reading it necessarily to decide if these books would be good/bad for the young readers they are geared for but I will say I am a little surprised these have become as popular as they are with the younger teenagers. It seems the political and ethical themes are a bit too deep/complicated for them to really grasp yet but I think maybe they just pick up on the romantic and action parts and sort of gloss over the deeper questions of what’s going on. I honestly don’t know if I’d recommend/not recommend these books for a 12 year old, or even an 11 year old. I definitely wouldn’t let my 8 year old daughter read these! It makes me sad to think she will be old enough one day to understand that a world such as the one Suzanne Collins created could actually exist. I’ll preserve her innocence and sweet dreams as long as possible.
While I wouldn’t use these books as a teaching guide per say for what the Catholic Church teaches, the books certainly offer a great platform for a good discussion about important questions dealing with killing, survival/self-preservation, mercy, self-sacrifice and love. In a similar way to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, The Hunger Games also portrays a dystopian society and definitely offers some food for thought about how scary and horrible it could be for a government, or one person, to hold so much power over an entire group of people, and what sort of an affect this has on people’s attitudes and behaviors. While Suzanne Collins’ Panem was thankfully fictional, it’s not all that far-fetched and that is something worth thinking about and discussing with young readers if they do read these books or see the movie.
I have more thoughts not just about the books but about what the books made me think about. But I’ll save that for another post and just let this be a simple review for now.
Have others read these books or seen the movie? What were your impressions?