Books: “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

After nearly a dozen recommendations from my students, I finally picked up a copy of “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.  I now understand what the fuss was about.

Having just completed the first book, I must say that while the writing style was a bit different – choppy in parts, with fragmented and jarringly short sentences – I loved it.

The official book description reads:

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

Powerfully demonstrating the inhumanity of tyrannical government and the struggle of individuals and communities to keep their dignity under such rule, the book leaves an impact.  Take this excerpt from chapter 1:

Taking kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy.  How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion.  Whatever words they use, the real message is clear: ‘Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do’…

To make it humiliating as well as torturous, the Capitol requires us to treat the Hunger Games as a festivity, a sporting event pitting every district against the others.

While I have yet to read the last two books of the trilogy, I do highly recommend “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.

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