Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Hunger Games

This month's book club book was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. As is often the case, I did not have much idea what to expect because I had not read the summary of the book since we voted on it last summer! It turns out, this is actually the first book in a young adult science-fiction trilogy. We only read book one, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I checked out book two and have placed a request for book three at our local library. (Warning - there are some minor spoilers in my book review below!)

Hunger games.jpg

The Hunger Games is the story of Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl living in the country of Panem (where North America once was). The country is divided into 12 regions, and each year one girl and one boy (called tributes) are chosen from each region to compete in the Hunger Games - basically a fight to the death. The last one of the twenty-four alive is the victor and his or her region receives extra food and gifts throughout the following year. Katniss is not chosen for the games, however her younger sister's name is drawn and Katniss quickly volunteers to take her place in order to spare her sister's life.

The Hunger Games are broadcast on TV and everyone watches as the 24 tributes hunt and kill each other. If the Games get "boring", the Capitol introduces new challenges to force the tributes to fight against each other. The games are designed to remind citizens of Panem that the Capitol is in control and will squash any rebellion.

The thing I did not like about this book is how easy it is to see many aspects of our own world reflected in the country of Panem. I rarely ever watch TV, however I know that reality TV shows are becoming more and more popular and contests to see who is the best/strongest/most talented/most beautiful are watched by millions. One question that came up at the book club meeting was whether or not we thought something like The Hunger Games could happen in real life. The answer is . . . yes, it already has - during the time of the gladiator games. We would like to think that this kind of barbarity would not happen in our society, but this book certainly left us thinking about what could happen when government gets too powerful and death becomes entertainment.

I highly recommend this book. While the story line is brutal, it will leave you thinking about the future. The book is well written and a definite page turner, especially because of the life-or-death aspect of the Games. The book's ending left me wondering what happened next, so I'm off now to start on the second book, Catching Fire.

7 comments:

cate said...

enjoy the rest of the books, they're page-turners just like the first one!

Sian said...

mmm..sounds like an interesting one. I always enjoy your reviews Melissa

humel said...

Gosh, how interesting! I'd never heard of these, but I might have to give them a go :-)

Jimjams said...

Lovely to read such a thoughtful review. I love books and am a member of a great little book group - just finished Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and about to read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark - quite a contrast!

Kimberlee said...

Interesting stuff. :)

I could see that happening in the future too.

Ginger said...

What an interesting review Melissa. I have not heard of this book. I stopped watching reality t.v. I find that most of the animosity among the players fuels people to be addicted to these shows, why is that people love to watch others berate individuals? What a waste of time. Time much better spent reading :) I'm adding this one to my list! (thanks to you my list is growing by leaps and bounds :)

Kirsty Vittetoe said...

Sounds interesting, thanks for sharing!