The Hunger Games Review

Book Review / Saturday, April 28th, 2012

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?




3 Replies to “The Hunger Games Review”

  1. This is so interesting to me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. From Harry Potter to Twilight and everything in between, there are so many controversial fiction books out there that tend to really polarize people, I am honestly just at a loss for how I should “feel” about all that at this point in my life. I just don’t know. Personally, I used to read a ton of fiction, mainly crime/forensic/mystery stuff. And I just loved it. And I still love reading, but I ebb and flow, and with kids and such it just isn’t much a priority. SO when I do have time to read, I feel like I shouldn’t “waste my time” on fiction, but don’t take that the wrong way because I agree, being able to “escape” into something like that really is probably very healthy, especially for those of us who spend our days (and nights) mothering in the trenches. So now I feel like I’m just rambling, but the whole topic of reading material really does fascinate (and confuse) me. But anyways, as someone who really is probably more just non-interested in Hunger Games period, I do appreciate the honest review, but more importantly the food for thought. And then the whole issue of age-appropriateness is just a completely different and equally fascinating (and controversial) ball of wax.

    Faith and Family had a pretty decent review of Hunger Games I thought.

  2. Erika, I completely agree, especially: “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.”

    I originally picked up this books a couple years ago, because so many students were reading them; however, like you, I truly enjoyed them just for the fiction. I think the books lend themselves to very good discussions on the roll of government, especially the extreme, yet logical, conclusion of an anti-life society.

    And good use of the word “dystopia.” 😉

    1. Thanks for weighing in Sarah 🙂 Ditto on “especially the extreme, yet logical, conclusion of an anti-life society.”
      It has definitely given me some more food for thought.
      Monica, I know how you feel about all the controversy. I think when our children are older these decisions will weigh heavier on our minds than they do now. I feel like, with anything else in parenting/life, it’s all just a matter of picking your battles and every parent will choose their own battles differently. Thanks for the F&F review, I forgot to post that. It also offers a fair review I thought.
      As far as reading fiction–fiction is like my lifeline somedays! I would read a lot more of it if it didn’t take me away from my other more ‘important’ responsibilities. I like non-fiction more than I did as a kid of course but fiction will always have my heart. Sometimes it’s just easier to understand/explain life and all it’s complexicties through a fictional perspective.

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