I love this little book. I read it when I was a teenager and even though it's set during the 1950s and in Catholic School--two things I have no refereI love this little book. I read it when I was a teenager and even though it's set during the 1950s and in Catholic School--two things I have no reference for--I just love these characters.
I think Caryl Rivers really nails what it feels like to be a teenage girl that longs for a bigger-than-life life while also clinging to that bittersweet time when you know you're growing up but there are things you never want to see end--and sometimes there is a very real deadline, whether it's the end of the school year or the end of the summer.
I love these characters and I love Peg's nutty daydreams. I love Peg's boyfriend. I love Peg's best friend's fierce bravado!
I am so happy I reread this book. It really felt like revisiting old friends. I can't wait to get the sequel off ebay! Stupid out of print books!
On it’s surface, The Hunger Games is a fast-paced action story set in a distant future. There are 12 districts, kept under strict coI love this book.
On it’s surface, The Hunger Games is a fast-paced action story set in a distant future. There are 12 districts, kept under strict control by the Capitol. Each district sends a boy and a girl-—tributes-—to fight to the death in an arena each year. The events are loathed by most people in the districts but there is little they can do stop it-—to not comply would mean brutal retaliation.
And that story, in and of itself, is pretty entertaining. But The Hunger Games goes a lot deeper than that. It cleverly makes the reader complicit in The Hunger Games. Because the entire thing is mandatory viewing in the districts, the tributes are aware that the whole world is watching. Of course, they’re really playing to the reader, not the TV audience, as they go about hunting and fighting. It’s a smart commentary on reality TV and the U.S. media’s coverage of the endless wars we’re currently involved in.
Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is smart, self-sufficient and utterly lacking in self-awareness. She also plays to the cameras. But since we’re inside her head we know how she feels versus what she’s trying to project to the audience. One of my favorite things about Katniss is that she has a flawed self-perception. She sees herself as utterly alone but she's actually part of an extended community; she thinks of herself as consumed with self-preservation but she'd gladly take her sister's place in the games. Peeta, the symbolic heart of the story and her co-tribute from her home district, even tells her she doesn’t know the effect she has on others.
Peeta himself is a symbol for hope and renewal, food and spring. “The boy with the bread” who saved her life as a child is now an enemy that must be killed if she’s ever to go home again-—or is he an ally? Does he love her? Or is he just playing for the cameras? Of course, Katniss is rarely sure and the reader is usually one step ahead of her-—the use of first person narrator in this series is amazing because Katniss misses a lot of the action but as a reader you don’t feel like you’re missing anything.
At any rate, a key theme of the series is: What’s real? And how do you know for sure? TV shows are not real (even if they are “reality”) so which emotions portrayed on them are real? And if it’s in front of the cameras does that automatically make it suspect?
Between the fast-paced prose, the bittersweet ending and the lovely use of symbols and imagery with each character (Katniss=fire, arrows; Peeta=bread, hope) this is one of my favorite books in recent memory.
I don't know if I would have liked this as much if I read it but the audiobook is exceptionally well produced. The actresses, including Octavia SpenceI don't know if I would have liked this as much if I read it but the audiobook is exceptionally well produced. The actresses, including Octavia Spencer reading the sections for which she won an Oscar, were all exceptional. I don't think I could have taken the story as seriously otherwise. It's kind of a cliched story but what amazing performances. Well worth the time to listen to it. ...more
We meet up with Katniss in the weeks after “winning” the Hunger Games to find she’s estranged from Peeta.**spoiler alert** So I loved this book, too.
We meet up with Katniss in the weeks after “winning” the Hunger Games to find she’s estranged from Peeta. She is trying to blot out the memory of the games and get back to normal life—-hunting with Gale, providing for her family. But even that’s complicated. Gale has declared his feelings and now that they have money the family is not as needy as they used to be. And Katniss's own feelings are deeply confused.
She misses Peeta but feels conflicted about over-stating her feelings in the arena.
So winning is still a kind of losing anyway, because there is no such thing as winning when the Capitol controls you and continues to determine your fate. This is made particularly clear when the stakes are raised-—Katniss’s defiance of the rules of the Hunger Games has left her in bad standing with the Capitol. And she has to turn up the heat on her fake romance with Peeta and pretend to be a good follower of the Capitol’s plans or it will likely mean death for everyone she loves. Katniss defines her self-worth by her ability to protect the people she loves. And, unfortunately for her, it’s getting to be a big group.
Of course, that’s the plot but there’s so much more going on here. The rebellion is Catching Fire—-as Katniss and Peeta travel from district to district they see it and are too young to fully understand that they were the spark to a fire that can’t be put out so easily.
But they’re also catching fire—at least Katniss is. Peeta (as always) is already there. That’s one thing I realized on re-reading these two books. Katniss is continually surprised by Peeta’s action-—his sharing of their rewards with District 11, painting Rue’s face in death, even painting what he saw in the games as his new vocation: it’s all pushing boundaries in ways she might do, too. He’s not quite as soft as she thought he was after all.
I love Collins’ use of imagery to represent Katniss and Peeta. She is fire—-and she blames herself for nearly every lick of flame in the book, rebellion or not. He is spring/renewal—-from fresh-baked bread to a dandelion. And those images and colors play out over and over. One of my favorite simple scenes is when Peeta approaches Katniss as a friend, willing to forgo the romance because they sort of barely know each other. He asks her what her favorite color is and she says green like grass. She asks him back and he says orange like a sunset. That scene killed me because, of course, those are the very colors that best represent the other.
The romance culminates with Katniss’s revelation that she will be destroyed if she loses Peeta (as always, Peeta is already there). And then the rebellion culminates in Katniss losing track of Peeta in the jungle-—the rebellion may well cost her everything. But you don’t know exactly what until the final book.