Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Review: Guilty Pleasure

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My teenage daughter insisted I read this and, I admit, it had me engrossed from start to finish. This is the first person account of a young girl in a post-Apocalyptic world who volunteers as "tribute" from her district to participate in what is essentially a reality TV show, The Hunger Games. Twenty-four kids, ranging in age from 12-18, representing 12 districts in what was once North America, are primped and prepared to fight to the death in a wilderness arena. They must find their own food and water, shelter, weaponry and companionship. Only one will survive and return home a hero.

Reading The Hunger Games was like watching a gorier version of the television show Survivor. It included both loathsome and likeable players, alliances, back-stabbing, solid friendships and even a love story.

Katniss and Peeta are the girl and boy from District 12, who their mentors and stylists present to the viewing audience as star-crossed lovers. Peeta is actually in love with Katniss; however, she is a hard-nosed, focused hunter and only believes she's playing a role through the Games. For example, she has been instructed that every kiss she gives Peeta may result in a reward, or some kind of treat or necessity from her mentor/sponsors. That the reader is aware of Peeta's true feelings and Katniss is not, is part of what makes it a simplistic and even silly love story. But I think that's testimony to the genius of the author. It magnifies how reality TV can be both inane and riveting at the same time.

I believe it was the good writing and the author's technique/story-telling ability that made me turn the pages non-stop until I finished. As for the subject matter?  File this one under "guilty pleasure."

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