The Hunger Games

Over the past two weeks, my spare time has been eaten up by three very addictive books – all part of the Hunger Games trilogy. In dietary terms, they’re probably not that nourishing, but they do taste good!

If you’ve not seen the film, or haven’t got into the books yet, stick them on your reading list! In the meantime, to whet your appetite I recommend this excellent article by Sophie Lister, which gives you an idea of what the fuss is all about.

Lots of reviews have picked up on the violence and horror of the dystopian world Katniss inhabits, and the parallels that can be drawn with our own time, as well as the way we seem to veer uncomfortably close to the road the Capitol has gone down, using the pain, humiliation and defeat of individuals as a matter of entertainment. Of course, we’d never go so far as to pit people against one another in a fight to the death and broadcast it to the nation, that would be horrific… (Perhaps I’ll save the post on reality TV shows for another day.)

Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, has been heralded by some as a perceptive and insightful commentator on the world we find ourselves living in. One reviewer has highlighted that

…the Hunger Games trilogy is also a clever and revealing satire on media manipulation and the nature of celebrity. Not only are the tributes assigned stylists and media coaches, they’re also fully aware that their survival depends at least in part on the way the public perceives them. The contrast between life in the districts, where malnutrition and starvation are common and technology barely exists for most of the people, and the privileged life of decadent excess in the Capitol, is also cleverly portrayed.

There’s lots that could be said about all of these things, and if this has made you even a little curious, read the books. Although they’re aimed at children, the universally-relevant themes Collins deals with, which range from love to revenge, identity and freedom to obligation and debt, plus what I’ve already mentioned above, and her readable style of writing, will ensure you don’t regret the time. I’m going to add some thoughts about some of these themes at some point in the near future!

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