The Hunger Games Don’t Satiate (What Else is on the Menu?)

I felt compelled to read The Hunger Games based on all the hype the young adult series of books has been garnering. Many of the students in my school have read the trilogy and were very excited about the release of the movie last week. So, I thought I should read the book before I hear all about the movie from them.

The book didn’t grab me right away but I decided to reserve any judgement and keep plugging away at it. The first half of the novel was a little boring as the author set to establish this future distopian world. I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the writing either. I almost thought about putting the book down.

About halfway through the book, I was woken up from my slumberly read through with a very violent and unexpected scene.

The title of the book refers to a yearly competition in which kids are pitted against each other in a fight to the death. The competitors are chosen at random, one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts.  Each district specializes in one industry and the inhabitants have to work hard for very little compensation. As such, they are perpetually underfed. The winner’s district is rewarded with extra food and the entire event is televised for all to see.

I was really put off by how violent this book is and how it is marketed towards children. The book really is about untrained kids being thrown into a large biosphere of a gladiator’s arena and being forced to kill one another.

The book is very violent and it’s not even that fresh of a concept. It reminded me of the Arnold Swartzenegger movie The Running Man. We care for the characters who don’t want to be part of the game but have a lot at stake in surviving. It hits the basic emotional arcs we’d expect from this type of tale but it really doesn’t do much else.

I didn’t enjoy this book and I don’t plan on reading any more of the series. I really can’t understand the fandom that has surrounded it and I don’t think it’s something  young children should be exposed to. How come they can’t turn the Artemis Fowl series into a movie franchise? I can think of half a dozen other series that deserve the fandom more.

That’s my take on it. 

What’s your’s? 

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4 responses to “The Hunger Games Don’t Satiate (What Else is on the Menu?)”

  1. I haven't seen the film or read the book, but it sounds near identical to a Japanese film I saw called Battle Royale. I forget what the message of that was (if any) underlying the violence, interested to know if this has any substance.

  2. Hi Hardeep,

    I don't think there is much of a message to these films. Perhaps they critique reality television.

    The Hunger Games shows the stark differences between the haves and the have-nots but it really doesn't offer any solutions to these global problems we see today.

    I heard the film might be better than the book. I'll probably catch it at the drive-in sometime this summer. I'm in no rush to see it, that's for sure.

  3. It's great to read your review Chase. It is the first one I've read from someone who did not enjoy the book (especially on any level).

    It was a book I picked up awhile ago based on a recommendation from a fellow teacher who was reading it to a grade 6 class. Nothing about the story appealed to me based upon the description, but I thought it was worth a shot reading. Once I picked it up I wasn't able to put it down. I read all three books in a row (some parts did bore me) and I went to bed at night dreaming I was Katniss Everdeen. The story and the characters stuck with me and the books called out to me when I had to set them down. I never thought I would be interested in this genre, but to me it was a refreshing read.

    I've continued to read other similar books "Divergent" by Veronica Roth and "The Maze Runner" trilogy by James Dashner and will continue to seek out books recommended based on my enjoyment of the ones I've finished. As an intermediate supply teacher some days it helps to have read these books to connect with the students and get them interested in reading more. I've seen some great book study comparison's done in class as well (The Giver by Lois Lowry). I have yet to read Battle Royale, but I hear it is just as enjoyable, if not more, although more violent.

    As for the movie, it stayed true to the book and even my husband loved it without having read the novel.

  4. Hi Amber,

    I agree that teachers should read the YA fiction that are students are reading. It does make for great discussions and helps build rapport.

    Although, I've had students ready to physically fight me over my criticism of this particular series. It's nice to see that kind of passion over a book.

    I don't have to understand it or like it. I just hope I can voice that without sounding like the one person in the world who doesn't love The Hunger Games.

    I love a lot of YA fiction and I'm not just hating on this because it is popular. I love the Harry Potter series. I'm just choosy with what I like.

    Thanks for the comment. I plan on catching the movie because I'm sure it has the potential to be better than the book (which is often rare for film adaptations)