Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Hunger Games -- My Thoughts

I LOVED this book -- and in some respect that is disturbing because it is a disturbing book. But, it hooked me from the start and wouldn't let me go. The main character, Katniss Everdeen, is such and unlikely heroine, but angry and bitter enough to have the raw makings of one to fit the plot line. She's got a sensitive streak in her, too -- ever cautious and skeptical, though.

What intrigued me most was the absurdity of it all. As Collin's masterfully crafts her story, you come to realize that elitism is always a dangerous thing, a dehumanizing thing. Power is a poison to the human soul and it bring out the worst of what human being are capable of. But, a soul that has struggled to survive under typical circumstance, and is then thrust into a situation to survive under extreme duress for the purposes of a contest (which is just another deranged means of control), must also struggle with a conscience that has natural law written on its heart.

As I read, I couldn't help thinking of world leaders throughout modern history: Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Amin, Ceausescu, Hussein, etc. that have tried to wield "unnatural" control over humanity. There is one obvious difference, they all tried to hide their atrocities under propaganda  that claimed their control was ultimately benevolent despite their people suffering horribly. But, in the Hunger Games, the Capitol leaders make the games, the process, the killing into something of a Psy-Ops mission to keep control over the population. The people of the Districts are mandated to watch the games, like we would watch the World Series, to see who will battle it out or win. Maybe a closer example in modern culture would be WWE SmackDown where the crowd is cheering to see blood and destruction until there is a victor. However, no one dies, its all choreographed and our culture chooses to observe without coercion. The Hunger Games depicts forced conformity to evil played out for entertainment by which a population's will is distorted and broken.

So why love a book that sounds so dark? Because, it is a well crafted power struggle of good versus evil. The Hunger Games is the first in a trilogy, and while I'm way behind the power curve of popularity in reading, or even commenting on these books, I can't wait to get to the next one.

Disclaimer: I wouldn't recommend these books for young adults before they've received Confirmation -- so around age 14 or older.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Mockingjay for winning multiple honors in the 2010 Goodreads Choice Awards! Check it out!

Kathy said...

Thanks for the comment! I was not sure I was going to like the book, so I only bought the first one, and in paperback. Well, I just went today and bought the other two in hard cover. I can't wait to get to Mockingjay!

Sarah said...

Great review - I have meaning to check out this series and am glad to hear it has good qualities.
Thanks for leaving me a comment! It was good to see you too :-)