Book Reports: Hunger Games

I just finished the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy.  It was quite a ride.  I’m still reeling, not sure what I think about them.  In case you decide to read them at some point, I will not ruin them for you.  (Or perhaps, like the Twilight series, I won’t ruin them until the movies have been out for awhile!)

The premise:  Katniss is 16 years old, and she comes from a very poor District in Panem, a “land formerly known as North America,” under a crazy fascist dictatorship of sorts.  Once a year, each District is required to send one girl and one boy, ages 12-18, to the Hunger Games.  These 24 kids are put into a “game” where the last one alive is the winner.  Katniss’ 12-year-old sister is chosen for the Games, and Katniss volunteers to take her place.

My thoughts (no spoilers!):  I am so eternally grateful for freedom of press.  The longer I spent in the crazy world of Panem, the more I realize how much we are protected by having free access to information.  I don’t like to watch the news, and I don’t mind not knowing what exactly is going on with Afghanistan and wherever else.  So I’ve never really cared about freedom of the press, thinking it was more about the rights of the press.  But I now realize how valuable it is for it to be my choice whether or not to hear it.  It balances the power.

I will also say that I never did make a good prediction of how the romantic story line would be resolved!  At various points in the story, I was madly in love with one of the options.  But as soon as I was reasonably convinced of one thing, the story threw me another piece of information that completely changed the game.

Actually, that’s a great summary of this wild ride:  As soon as I was reasonably convinced of one thing, the story threw me another piece of information that completely changed the game!  I am looking forward to reading the series again, and seeing how it changes my experience to know the end.  And all the curve balls along the way.

I have a hard time believing the series was written for middle school kids.  So much violence.  So much loss of humanity between my experience and the experience of the citizens of Panem.  When I turned off my light to go to sleep after particularly intense parts…which was most of the series…I found myself actually telling myself, “You are at home, you are safe, you are in your own bed.”  Panem stuck with me, night and day.  I am looking forward to rereading it, probably soon, but I need to take a breath and ground myself back in reality!

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