This is a first for me. I’ve never read a book before seeing the movie.
Reading fiction is something that I don’t do easily. Vanda, my wife, is a librarian and has made progress in introducing me to this new world. The volume of encouragement from Vanda and our book-worm daughter, Emma, to read this book bordered on embarrassing so I gave it a go, and I wasn’t let down. Suzanne Collins has struck a perfect balance of adventure (some call it “violence”) and romance – enough of each to satisfy those drawn to them without even the slightest hint of repulsing readers who are not of those particular literary persuasions.
One of my difficulties with reading fiction is that there are so many names that I have to put faces to. I’ve begun a ritual of writing down the names and a brief description as characters are introduced, but that wasn’t necessary this time. I don’t know if there are less characters to remember than the average novel, but the way each is so masterfully developed helps me recall them easily even near the end of the story. Now I can join in with my wife and daughter when they look at the movie trailers and give kudos to whomever was responsible for casting. The book was written so well that all of us have the same pictures in our minds of what each character looks like.
So, here’s what puzzles me about the only book of about 300 pages that I’ve finished in less than a week. At the risk of sounding sexist I’ll put it this way: How can so many women love this book when the main premise is the death of children? What is so compelling about this story that caused Vanda and Kimmy (our extreme book-reading friend), gentle women of God, to abhor the killing but continue to read the book with the anticipation of children at Christmas? The description of the children and the clarity with which their deaths are portrayed should make it even more disturbing. But they’ve already read the next two books of the series! This is the same woman (Vanda) who has never made it through an entire showing of a Lord of the Rings movie. She even helped host a program based on The Hunger Games at the library in Poland, OH, last night where she had as much fun at as the kids did.
After reading a little of the author’s bio, I’m able to venture a guess. Suzanne Collins writes to comment on the savagery of war. Having watched a chick flick or two with my wife I’ve learned that there’s one thing in common with all of them: there’s always something to cry about (Even in a comedy there’s always some crying to be done). So maybe it’s not so much that women overlook the carnage of The Hunger Games. It could be because it brings the horrors of war to the surface and tells of how innocence fights to overcome it.
Anyway, two thumbs up from this non-fiction reader. Why two thumbs up even with my refernce to the violence? Because that’s all the thumbs I have.