Monday, August 16, 2010

the hunger games by suzanne collins

i picked this book up on a lark in target. i remember seeing that my cousin had read it and had good things to say about it. i finished it in one night.

it's kind of a dig at the entertainment industry, especially "reality tv." and if you know me at all, you know i despise reality tv.

the book takes place is a dystopian society after the united states has collapsed. there is a capitol with absolute power and twelve remaining districts. katniss, the main character, lives in district twelve which is a coal-mining district. the people in her district are generally poor, hungry, and hopeless. she is the primary provider for her family since the death of her father in a coal-mining accident. she illegally sneaks beyond the fences everyday to hunt and gather food for consuming and trading.

as a constant reminder of their absolute power, every year the capitol hosts the hunger games. every district must send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen. the twenty four participants engage in a televised fight to the death. the last child standing is allowed to return home.

it's a disturbing idea.

katniss' younger sister is selected to go and katniss volunteers to go in her stead.

what i liked:

i think katniss is a great character. through her experience we can learn to question many things. how much of what we see on tv is real? how much is skewed? are we being manipulated?

i can't understand so many of the television shows that are successful. survivor. real housewives of whatever county. jersey shore. bachelor/bachelorette. girls next door. the hills. etc.

we take the worst examples of humanity and set them up on a television show. we reward manipulation and lying and betrayal with a million dollars. we find the most vacuous and immature humans and videotape their lives and call it entertainment. we send out the message that dating 20 different people at the same time while intoxicated is the best way to establish a relationship.

(i do not watch any of these shows)

how many of these people would you actually want to associate with?

(my answer is none. you?)

i also liked the parts in the book where katniss found herself changing her behavior in order to be more appealing to the watching public in order to obtain support. it shows that even the most disinterested and sensible of people are affected by their surroundings. we have to be so careful about what we associate ourselves with. granted, she's trying to stay alive, so you don't hold it against her. but it helps you realize that people in the public eye are rarely behaving the same way they would if no one was watching. we should be careful how much influence we allow them.

i'm looking forward to the rest of this series.

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