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!