I will admit, despite her being a best selling author, I have never heard of Suzanne Collins. My 19 year old son, who rarely, if ever, read anything started reading The Hunger Games as a download on his smart phone. In weeks he had read three novels. All by Collins, all part of this Hunger Games trilogy. He kept telling me, “Dad, you have got to read them.”
I am not opposed to reading Young Adult novels. Quite the contrary. I read plenty of them. Both best selling series, and individual titles (which include, naturally, the Harry Potter saga, and Twilight epidemic). When I saw my boss at work reading them, I thought — there’s gotta be something here. I mean, I looked the book up. I read the synopsis. And while it sounded so-so, I wasn’t compelled.
Online I read the first chapter of the first book. It did not move me, immediately. I had a general sense what the story was, or so I thought. I kept picturing the popular short story, The Lottery. And, well, for the most part, it is comparable.
However, there is a lot more depth and character enrichment. As there should be. One is a short story. The other, a trilogy.
What I did then was order all three books on-line. (While my own novels are now mostly available for Kindle, I do not own a Kindle or Nook. And do not prefer reading books that way. Even though I have Kindle and Nook software on my iPhone, I cannot even for a moment understand the desire or need to read an entire novel on my cell…but that’s just me, I guess. Old fashioned).
I found I could not wait for the books to arrive.
I am not going to summarize any of the stories in this blog. Way I see it, if you haven’t heard of this best-selling trilogy, or at the very least, seen trailers for The Hunger Games movie due out in theaters in a week, then my taking you through the stories in a blog is pointless.
In hours I devoured the first book. At Christmas, my three kids and I became archers. When I say archers, I mean I invested in bows for the four of us. Joined a range where we can shoot target practice up to 30 yards. A wonderful indoor facility. We are not hunters. At all. Not sure I could shoot a deer, or even a turkey–unless survival depended on it. But the game of archery, the skill behind it, is challenge enough! We love it. Ah, but I digress. Where was I . . .?
I devoured the first book in hours. I think I felt a connection to Katniss and Gale. If, at first, for the simple fact that they hunted using the stealth of bows and arrows. But quickly, and I mean quickly, cared about them as characters. Especially Katniss.
Katniss, in my opinion, is the exact opposite of Bella.
You know who Bella is, right?? Please, do not make me explain.
Bella is the polar opposite of Katniss. The opposite end of the rainbow. Thank God.
While I suffered through Bella’s teenage angst filling chapters with endless whining, Katniss compelled me to continue reading because of the abundance of strength, despite natural fear.
The three books caught me by surprise. Each ending left me wanting more — having not guessed the final direction the books would take.
While Suzanne Collins was someone I never heard of, I know her now. She writes in a simple fashion. Despite a complex plot filled with politics and levels of altered states, it is easy to follow. The picture she paints with her words is crisp and concise.
I have not seen the movie(s). But will. I only hope they are not destroyed the way I felt the Twilight movies desecrated the novels. Already, however, and sadly, some of the characters casted in the film are so far off from what my imagination imagined … it is going to be difficulty for me to fully enjoy the movie. For example, Rue. The actress portraying Rue — not what I pictured. At all.
Alas, the book is always better than the movie.
My recommendation — at the very least, read The Hunger Games before seeing the movie 🙂 But, hey, that’s just my humble opinion. A lot happens in the book. And I can’t believe the movie will express it all or as eloquently as Suzanne Collins did in her novel.
Author of Pigeon Drop, Johnny Blade, Adverse Impact, Convicted, Third Ring, Tenth House, Mind Play — and as Thomas Phillips, The Molech Prophecy