by Joyce Brandon
I was slightly uncomfortable to admit to everyone I had read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The idea that I was reading a “young adult” book shook my pride just a little but I soon overcame that insecurity when adult after adult told me how much they enjoyed the book. Yes, it is written for young adults and is; therefore, an easy read, but that doesn’t detract from the story. The plot is creative and the story hooked me right from the beginning.
The Hunger Games has universal appeal. It has something for everyone: a little romance, a little suspense, much action, and some political drama. It is the political drama that I think will hold the most appeal to adults. You just might see some parallels to our current political system.
The story takes place in the future, in a land called Panem. Panem is a country that rose up out of the ashes of a place that was once called North America. North America had been all but destroyed by natural disasters and a battle for what little sustenance remained. From the destruction emerged Panem, a shining Capitol which was surrounded by thirteen districts. There was again peace and prosperity in the land.
Then came the “Dark Days.” There was an uprising of the districts against the Capitol. Twelve districts were defeated and the thirteenth was destroyed. From that uprising the “Treaty of Treason” was established dictating new laws that would “guarantee peace.” This in effect turned the districts into slave labor camps that worked to support the insatiable greed and hunger of the Capitol.
The Hunger Games are put on by the Capital each year under the guise of reminding the districts that the “Dark Days” must never be repeated. The rules of the games are simple. As a punishment for the uprising, one girl and one boy ages twelve to eighteen, from each of the districts will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena, with unknown obstacles and natural disasters, for several weeks. The competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins.
The games are flaunted in the faces of the grieving families and communities to further the hold the Capitol has on the people. They are televised in all their gory detail; the contestants are turned into celebrities: fanfare and celebrations follow them wherever they go in a grotesque display of self-indulgence. The games have become entertainment in its evilest form. The majority of this story takes place during the games as told in first person, and seen through the eyes of a Hunger Games competitor, Katniss Everdeen.
Suzanne Collins brings the characters to life and I felt a kinship with them. You really learn to care about the lives of the oppressed citizens, and you will form a special bond with many of the competitors. More then anything The Hunger Games is a story of the human spirit. The will to live, love, and pursue freedom of choice and that is something we can all relate to. This book will appeal to readers of all ages.
The Hunger Games is coming to movie theaters in late March. I am excited to see the film and reading the book first should add to the experience: filling in the gaps inevitable with movies. My teenaged daughter just finished the book and we can’t wait to see the movie together.
Let the games begin!
Watch for a review of the Hunger Games movie coming soon!