My week of reading a book each day is officially under way. Yesterday I read Suzanne Collin’s bestseller, The Hunger Games.
I had heard so much about this book and the trilogy it begins, and almost all of it was good. In fact, everyone I know personally who read it said the same thing: make sure you can get your hands on the next two books asap, because you will not want to put them down.
They were right.
The Hunger Games tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year old girl living in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem, which is situated where the United States of America once resided. Her home district, District 12, is the coal mining district found in what we know as The Appalachian Mountains. Life is rough in this outlier district, and it has made Katniss a survivor of enviable savvy and fortitude.
Every year, the ruling Capitol picks two tributes at random from each district to compete in The Hunger Games, a cruel fight to the death in a wilderness arena designed to remind the citizens who’s boss. And this year, despite the odds, the Everdeen family is up.
I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I tell you that I was completely riveted from the first page. Stories of wilderness survival and bloodshed are not usually my cup of tea- case in point, Hatchet by Gary Pulsen was, without question, my least favorite book I ever had to read for school- and I was afraid this offering would be too graphic or, honestly, just about stuff that doesn’t interest me. But for just $8 at Target, I figured it was worth a shot. My fears were instantly assuaged. Collins uses clean cut prose to communicate Katniss’s every emotion with clarity and depth, and she is never unnecessarily graphic. In fact, this book is incredibly clean, and I wouldn’t hesitate to hand it to my teenager or pre-teen.
The first-person limited perspective allows the reader to live through the experience first hand as Katniss struggles with questions of duty, loyalty, and love, the answer to which could literally mean life or death for her and her loved ones. And unlike many other popular franchises, such as The Twilight Saga or Harry Potter, I haven’t heard much criticism about the quality of writing found in The Hunger Games trilogy, and if the next two are as well written as the first one, I understand why. Written with Hemingwayen sparsity, there is not an unnecessary word in this rich story, which in another author’s hands could easily have doubled in length. This gives each standing word an extra punch of meaning, and lends the book the extra measure of potency that made it not just a good story, but a truly excellent read. The Hunger Games is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.
Today, Day Two of my Book-A-Day challenge, I am reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.
This memoir is a lighthearted tale of the author’s quest to live life to the fullest. I’m 143 pages in, and so far I’m enjoying it, although I keep getting sidetracked by wondering if the little bookstore down the street has the next Hunger Games book, Catching Fire, and if so, do I have enough cash to cover it. Sigh. The problems of a book blogging house wife never end.
Have you read The Hunger Games? What do you think of them? Am I going to love Catching Fire as much as I think I am?!