Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reflections: The Hunger Games

Adam C. Zern shares some thoughts on Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games:

"My feelings toward young adult fiction has changed quite a bit over the last several years.  When I used to think of young adult fiction, the first thing that would come to mind is Goosebumps for some reason.  That stereotype and my aversion to young adult fiction stopped when I read Lois Lowry's The Giver.  I saw how something so simple could be exceptionally powerful and moving.  Since reading that book, I have been much more open to young adult fiction.

Which brings me to The Hunger Games.  The first book in a trilogy (a seeming necessity these days), The Hunger Games is a very good read.  It's thrilling and suspenseful and in parts very, very tender.  One of the book's greatest strengths is its ability to deal with some rather gruesome scenarios, such as a fight to the death game between 12-17 year-olds, without becoming morbid or gratuitous.  In fact, in what could have been the most excruciating scene in the book, the death of a particular character actually ends up becoming the most meaningful and moving (I won't spoil anything) moment in the book.

The book is not without its problems.  The nature of the main audience, young adults, does demand some storytelling silliness from the author.  For example, the motivation of a particular character will be very clear through skilled writing, and then the author will use her main character to purposefully and unmistakably say or think out loud for the audience what they should have been able to deduce without hand-holding.  It's a small annoyance that shows up a little, but it is sad that some subtly had to be sacrificed.  I also think the author could have used the nature of her story, which is very compelling and intriguing-including the sci-fi world she has created-to explore some other powerful themes.  But the main audience may have dictated some pruning, which might not have been required otherwise.

In the final analysis, I think The Hunger Games is just fine the way it is.  I might have wanted some more from the book, but I greatly enjoyed what the author gave me.  I'll probably finish the trilogy, and I hope I enjoy the next two books as much as I did the first."

Other Topics of Interest:
Bedtime Stories with Adam & Sarah: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Reflections: Catching Fire
Reflections: Mockingjay

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