The Hunger Games Review
A while back, everyone was talking about The Hunger Games
as though it was the new Harry Potter
. When the movie came out, Hubby and I went to see it, and neither of us liked it. When I explained to my coworkers and friends that the movie didn't grab me, they all got immediately defensive.
"Oh, but you have
to read the book! The book is so much better! You just can't understand the movie without having read the book!"
To that, I say "fuck you guys". While this book wasn't the worst thing I've ever read, it certainly doesn't fall into the category of even "average". The only reason why it's getting an "OK" instead of an "Avoid!" is because unfortunately, I have read some pretty shitty stuff, and this is just a step above that.
The Hunger Games
is a dystopian story that takes place in Panem, a futuristic North America after North America has been destroyed. Panem has been separated in districts, which number from one to twelve, and each District serves its own purpose to the Capitol. For example, District 12 is the coal/mining District. The people in most of the districts are kept poor and underfed; while most of them get by barely surviving, some aren't that lucky.
The main character, sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen, is from District 12. Katniss lives with her mother, who is only painted as fucking useless, and her little sister, Prim, whom Katniss adores and dotes upon as best she can given their meager means. Katniss treats her mom like shit because when Katniss' father died in a coal mining explosion, her mother (who had come from a significantly richer family and had walked away from it all just to be with a poor coal Miner) went catatonic and actually had a reaction to losing the love of her life in a horrible accident. As a result of the mom not really being over the loss of her husband and going through what basically seems to be a crippling depression, Katniss chooses to - I mean, is forced
to take care of her family.
The Districts are all enclosed in electric fences, and it is illegal to ever cross to the other side of the fence. However, Katniss has discovered that the fence isn't electrified, or something like that, and so she crosses to the other side just about every day to use her father's bow and arrows to hunt. There she meets Gale, a boy who also risks his life to be able to have access to the fresh game and other foods that are found in the woods beyond the fence, and they become friends.
All's going pretty miserably as can be expected, until things get more miserable when it's time for The Reaping. Basically, the Capitol, which is full of rich people living happily in beautiful cities with plenty to eat, hosts The Hunger Games every year. This keeps the Districts in check, because once a year, two children, a boy and a girl, are forced to fight other kids from the other districts to the death. Out of twenty-four kids, only one of them can win.
The first name called from District 12 is Katniss' sister's, Primrose Everdeen. Katniss then decides to volunteer herself as a tribute to the game to spare her sister, who is only barely old enough to be in the game at all. The boy that is called is Peeta, the Baker's son, who Katniss has some unresolved sense of debt to, because once when she was younger, he threw some burned bread into a puddle near where she was sitting, and because of that, she decided to start taking action to feed herself.
Peeta and Katniss go to the Capitol, and begin to prepare for the Games. The only people that are there to give them any sense of direction as far as preparing for it are a severe alcoholic, a crazy bitch, and a fashion designer. The pair from District 12 are put on display for the people of the Capitol, and somehow Katniss ends up being considered as the most valued player, despite the fact that she's a surly little girl with no real personality who breaks down in tears whenever she's told that she really has no personality.
There's not much more to say that doesn't contain spoilers, even though everyone has probably already seen the movie, and the movie is basically the book minus maybe six chapters that really build up how much of a grouchy, heartless bitch Katniss is, and how we should think she's really clever and special.
The only part of the book that I found remotely interesting was the part where the Games actually took place, and even that barely strayed from the movie, which isn't a bad thing, just that it didn't give me a sense of having missed out on anything by not having read the book beforehand.
I can't really see how the teenage girls that I'm sure this book was written for are relating to this story. I mean, pretty much every character in it is literally starving to death, and then they all have to kill each other brutally. The book is really short, between 300-400 pages at most, and some things are lacking any real description, like Katniss, whom they really never describe beyond the fact that she's white and has her hair in a braid most of the time, whereas other things are described in detail repeatedly. Yes, I get it, the Capitol has lots of colors. Jesus Christ, let it go.
The main things I got from this book were the following:
*It's okay to steal and break the law if you want to, as long as you don't get caught.
*Society wants girls to be pretty and plastered with makeup. You don't have to agree, as long as you go along with what society's expectations are when you're in public.
*Drinking to the point of alcoholism is justifiable if you're dealing with an emotional issue.
*It's totally okay to use violence as a way of dealing with things. I'm not just talking about the actual Games, here. Katniss is a real bitch to people, and doesn't seem to have a problem with shoving them into broken glass for no reason, let's say.
*Suicide is okay, and suicide pacts are better, if you feel like the system is getting you down. Don't let The Man win!
*Lying is probably the best way to use your ability to speak. Just don't get caught!
*If you don't want to have kids, you shouldn't consider getting married or being in a relationship. People who don't want to have kids when the world is going to shit don't have a right to a happy relationship.
Seriously, why the fuck do people like this story? It's depressing, dark, lacking in several areas, and has way too many bad messages. Ugh.
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