March 22, 2012

Hunger Games

I recently read the first book in a trilogy about a dystopian society where children are sent to fight to the death in arena for the pleasure of the sadistic government. Oh yeah, it's televised live and there is a love triangle.

No, I'm not talking about The Real Housewives or The Bachelor, although it does share a few of the same qualities. Our book club just finished reading and reviewing The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

I first came across this book a while ago when the librarian suggested it to me, for Joanna to read. I shrugged it off, not familiar enough with the author to take the book she offered. Instead, I checked out the Gregor Series, written by the same author. We read those books, and although they were a little dark, we enjoyed them. So, I decided to try the Hunger Games. But, I was adamant to Joanna that she wouldn't be reading it until I had finished. After all, it's child on child violence we're talking about. Not something that's exactly warm and fuzzy reading.

However, after I finished reading it, I realized that there was more to this book than violence. Yes, the violence was a main part of the story, but it wasn't the only thing. And, if you read the book, you'll come to see that the Hunger Games, as they are called, are nothing more than a bloody version of our reality television shows. There is, also, the underlying story of a revolution in the country about to take place and the question of finding love, but that also seems to fit squarely into the reality of today's life for our children. 

After finishing the book, and giving myself a few days to digest it, I decided to let Joanna read it. Samuel has also read the book now, and it's lent itself to much discussion about war, right vs. wrong, how hard it can be to make the right decision, reality television, desensitization of the value of life, what love feels like, poverty, and the role our government has in our lives. Amazing that all of this was found to be layered in a novel targeted for young adults.

I enjoyed the book, and I've finished the trilogy as well. Although I didn't exactly enjoy the second or third books as much as the first, it was an interesting read. I would suggest, however, that you read these books along with your children. There are things in there that will be worthy of discussion, topics that you as a parent should discuss with your child.

An interesting side note: The movie based on this novel comes to theaters this Friday. I've got my tickets already! I'll let you know what I think of it.