Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press 2010
Genre: Futuristic Science Fiction
390 pages
Source: Personal Copy

The popularity of the Hunger Games Trilogy is a modern phenomenon. Tremendous numbers of people are reading the three books and flocking to the latest movie, the second in the series, Catching Fire. Ten days into release it has grossed 296.3 million dollars; it broke the Thanksgiving weekend record. The stories are action packed thrillers that explode on page and screen.

The appeal of Hunger Games crosses generations. Four distinct age groups were represented in my family when we went to the theatre to see Catching Fire over the Thanksgiving Day holiday. The next day I went out and bought Mockingjay. What a book!

It’s a great read, imaginative in every area. Plot twists and turns keep the reader jumping. The settings are full of surprises, clearly reported. Katniss Everdeen is a heroine for the ages, brave, yet able to examine her actions. She is a complicated young woman. At her worst she never looses her appeal. The author shows her heroine’s vulnerability, her doubt, and her confidence without ever being too repetitive or overwriting her thought processes. Katniss is never too perfect.

Ms. Collins has created a whole new world, and yet it is only one step away from the one we know well. Yes, there are echoes of the Roman Empire with character names like Plutarch, Fulvia, Octavia, Flavius, and fights to the death broadcast for all to see, but this is not a replay of that time. With constant styling, and public relations messages, it is closer to our own time.

In this book, Ms. Collins causes readers to ask themselves questions about life that perhaps we have not ask as seriously as we might. Not long ago I said why would I read a book about children killing children? I seemed to put aside the awareness that children were killing children across the world: in the drugged-choked streets of U. S. cities, on the deserts of northern Nigeria, and in Al Qaeda training camps and their exit destinations, to give just a few examples.

Reading this book one sees war and peace from a different perspective, though the similarities to modern life are present in every chapter. There are districts where the majority of workers mine coal underground, and districts where food is scarce and districts where food is plentiful, wasted. What is important, real emotion or what we see on TV? These stories have something to say to us about power, greed, war and sacrifice that will make any reader stop and think. For me, this book demanded I pay attention to major life questions.

Futuristic science fiction has never been a favorite genre of mine, and add the darkness and I am usually even less interested. But like so many readers, I am now hooked on Hunger Games. When is the next movie coming?

“Read or not real?” This phrase from the book will stay with me. This question will help me contemplate life in modern times, or any time.

As always, please share your comments on Hunger Games.

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