Friday, September 30, 2011

May the odds be ever in your favor.

I've been meaning to write a review of The Hunger Games for a while now, but this week seems especially perfect. I finished the third book of the trilogy, Mockingjay, on Tuesday, and it also happens to be Banned Book Week. In some places, The Hunger Games trilogy has been banned for these reasons:

"sexually explicit, violence, unsuited to age group"

Source: via Tippi on Pinterest

Well, after reading all of them, I don't see how they are sexually explicit. Unless of course, kissing at the age of 16 is considered sexually explicit, but I don't really see that holding up against some of the other "young adult" books that are published today. As for violence, I can understand. When my friend first told me they were banned for violence, this particular line from Mockingjay came to mind:
"Weapons fall from their hands, fingers clutch their faces, as blood sprays from all visible orifices - eyes, noses, mouths, ears.... I grit my teeth and run, leaping over the bodies, feet slipping in the gore." Mmm, yummy.
In light of passages such as that, I can see why some people might think the books are "unsuited to age group." After all, when I encourage my peers to take time out of their busy college schedules to read the series, I always tell them: "It's a really fast read. I read the first book in two days during recruitment! [And if they're Greek, they understand how impossible it is to do anything except recruitment during recruitment.] Think Twilight, but better. Much better." I only compare The Hunger Games to Twilight because they are both written at a very low reading level but enjoyed by an older age group. It is there that the differences end.

Twilight showcases a whiny girl caught in a love triangle with two men who want to control her and think they know what's best. The Hunger Games showcases a strong girl caught in a love triangle with two men who trust her to keep herself - and them - safe. Twilight has sparkly vampire characters. The Hunger Games uses ludicrous bodily fashions (like dyed skin and metallic tattoos) to make a political statement about the characters of the futuristic society in which the story is set. Basically, Twilight plays on a slightly disturbing romance to draw an audience, while Suzanne Collins only uses romance as one small part in her intricate story of a destitute future controlled by power and fear.

A movie based on the book is scheduled to be released in 2012. Jennifer Lawrence, who received
an Oscar nomination for her leading role in Winter's Bone last year, will play Katniss Everdeen.

If you haven't heard of The Hunger Games yet, (1) I'm quite surprised, and (2) it tells the story of a place in the future where the "Capitol" chooses two children from each "District" every year to fight in "The Hunger Games," a large gladiator-type game played in an arena rigged with unnatural disasters and dangerous obstacles. The last child standing wins both the chance to stay alive and a constant source of food to feed the people of his or her district.

It's a fascinating read, and I highly recommend you to go out and get the first book right away! Some people have been predicting it will form a fan base similar to Harry Potter or Twilight. I definitely think popularity and fanaticism around the series will soar as the movie release date approaches, but of course, I don't think any series could ever come close to the love and attachment people feel for Harry Potter. Suzanne Collins did a fantastic job with this series, however, and I encourage you to experience it for yourself! And when you're finished, let me know what you think.

P.S. - I found this interactive map of the history of banned books in the U.S. to be very interesting. My favorite incident occurred in Newman, Calif., a town about 20 minutes from where I grew up:
(2009) Maya Angelou's I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings was challenged in the Newman-Crows Landing, Calif. School District (2009) on a required reading list presented by the Orestimba High English Department. A trustee questioned the qualifications of Orestimba staff to teach a novel depicting African American culture.

1 comment:

  1. I love your comparison of THG v Twilight! I liked them both, but I would rather put THG in the hands of teenage girls before Twilight. THG is still an all time favorite of mine, but I agree that it is very violent and disturbing. STILL...that's no reason to ban it from the public. thanks for linking up this week!


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