I have been caught up in the hubbub surrounding The Hunger Games. Members of my book club are planning to go see the movie after Spring Break, and I can’t wait. We’re thinking that this will give teens a chance to go see it, so we aren’t the oldest people in the theater. (We might be the oldest despite putting it off!) I’ve seen many movie adaptations of books I’ve read, so I used a gift card to buy the whole trilogy for my Nook to try to read at least the first book before I see the movie.
I first heard about The Hunger Games a while ago. I had been avoiding reading the books, mostly because I had heard that it involved a fight to the death among teenagers. Reading this post about the movie’s rating on BlogHer reminded me of this reason. As a mom and a teacher, I really don’t want to read about teens killing other teens.
I’m reminded, however, of the kind of stories I used to love. Original fairy tales held such allure for me, and were so different from the Disney movies. One of my favorite stories was Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl”. This poor little child freezes to death at the end of the story, and is brought to Heaven to be with her grandmother. Fairy tales were told orally and passed down from one generation to the next, and so were changed by the tellers. One of the endings of Snow White has the wicked step mother dance to death in red hot iron shoes as her due reward for her wickedness. Hansel, locked up in a cage, uses a bone to fool the nearly blind witch that he is not getting fat enough for her to eat him. Fairy tales are pretty gruesome, aren’t they?
When I was in high school, I graduated to books like Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer, about a group of teenagers involved in a hit and run scenaro. She also wrote Killing Mr. Griffin, a book about teens intended to scare a disliked teacher only to accidentally kill him off. These books were not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.
It is in remembering these stories that I know why The Hunger Games trilogy has become so popular among its readers. I was drawn to similar stories when I was young, too. Why are these stories so appealing? Is it because we are facing our darkest fears? Perhaps, although some of those fears are darker than the ones I face in reality. Is it because of the way we think of ourselves? That we would be the ones strong enough and good enough and wise enough to survive?
While I have yet to read these books, I think I will forge ahead despite my reservations since upon reflection they sound just like the kind of story I have been drawn to in the past.
Have you avoided reading The Hunger Games like I have? Or have you read the book and seen the movie? What did you think?