The Hunger Games

I’m sure some of you have adored these books since they first appeared, but I’m a recent convert. The movie, I thought, was awesome. It got me curious about the books. I eased into the first book in bits and pieces, deciding I liked the first-person narrative in Katniss’s clean, clipped tones. I liked the richness of details that didn’t make the film version, like her rudimentary friendship with Madge. Eventually, I picked up the pace of my reading as the minor differences from the movie accumulated into an emotional experience beyond what the movie held for me, the pages washing past until the end of the first book. Monday night, Mister and I got the second book, and I was through it by the end of Tuesday. Good suspense at points, but the characters really did it for me. I cared about them, had to know what they’d endure next. At 12:30am today, I brought home the third book. It left my hands twice – once for me to write down my thoughts on Chapter 1 (I had this crazy idea I’d do so every few chapters, but I got to engrossed to do it again) and a second time to switch my ceiling light for a bedside lamp when I realized I wasn’t stopping any time soon. I finished around 6:30. I’ve always been a lover of books, but I’ve never read a full novel in one dose. If I had to describe the trilogy in one word, I’d call it compelling. If you haven’t read it, I suggest it wholeheartedly. Don’t read past this point if you haven’t completed the books – you don’t want to ruin a story this well-made. (Caution: spoilers may turn up in the comments as well)

One of the most lifelike moments in the story, for me, was Peeta’s appraisal of Katniss as coldly self-serving after his memory seemed mostly back to normal. I think no matter who you are, if you’re loved by a truly pure-hearted person, you have a pathological fear that the person simply hasn’t noticed your flaws, that one day they’ll see your ugliness clearly for the first time and cease loving you. I know the thought has crowded the darker corners of my own mind more than once.

Katniss’s rage at the end of the second book, when she discovers Peeta has been abandoned by the rebel leadership in the arena, also sent me reeling. In her eyes, they’ve all failed to see his inestimable worth. Wasting the best person she knows. My jaw is set with vicarious anger just writing these words, so deeply do I relate to her view of him. The disposition that makes him universally liked, the understanding that not just she, but everyone, should recognize his inherent goodness, even his impossibly long eyelashes… I recognize him as my own. Hers is fair; mine is dark. Mine’s art is electronic instead of visual. But the heart at the center of the character beats in such a familiar way.

I guess I don’t have anything profound or theological to say about the trilogy right now, rundown from emotion and lack of sleep. Maybe I’ll add to this post another time. For now, just wanted to sing the praises of these fabulous books publicly and get a discussion going about them. I know a few of you, at least, have read them. Tell us what stood out to you!


About Cherie

I grew up rooted in the Catholic beliefs and traditions of an old-fashioned Italian family, and came into my own understanding of God through charismatic prayer in my teens. When this blog started, I was a master's student and then a fledgling teacher. Now, I am married (to the same Mister I wrote about), teaching high school science, and living in suburbia. I’m not as confidently Catholic lately as I used to be, so this blog will reflect my struggles and (God willing) successes in searching for a deeper, more adult understanding of my lifelong Faith. PS: Prayers to my patron (Saint Ann) and Our Lady for us to have a child would be deeply appreciated.

Posted on May 17, 2012, in Relationships, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I think you pretty much summed it up. His corruption and eventual realization that she was not to be put on a pedestal shows his growth and what they both must eventually overcome. He was reborn and saw her, for once, as she really was–mixed up and torn and trying to make people happy, while failing miserably. At one point, I think she realized Peeta’s immense innocence and wanted him to keep it forever. When he was taken away and changed she longed for him but he came back different and eventually came face to face with the realities of life. Constantly underestimating him, she didn’t want anyone else to underestimate him in the second book and continued to fight for him in the third book out of her natural desire not to owe him anything. Eventually, she owes him everything because it is only because of him that she could see clearly herself and what she needed to do. She finally realized the meaning of Peeta’s words to die with dignity and not become a pawn in their game (including life after the arena). Katniss overcame her anger and fear to finally be herself. When she gave in to what was the right thing for her, she became independent of the drama, constant pulling in different directions, and everything else in her life and just became her. Only then was she able to find herself and discover who she was really meant to be and could be. This book doesn’t leave us with a feel-good, happy-ending outlook on life, it accentuates the negativity and coping in a society that refuses to meet their basic needs. It’s about overcoming obstacles in a real way and not a fairy tale happily ever after. It was this that left me both uncomfortable and awkward because it was too real and too in-tune with actual human experiences even though it was based in a society that I could never imagine living in.
    – z

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