Friday, March 9, 2012

The Hunger Games

If you haven't read The Hunger Games trilogy and you plan to, you should probably stop reading this post. In others words, SPOILER ALERT. (I'll try to be as vague as possible, but I probably wont be. And if you haven't read them I really think you should, so stop reading this.)

I read all three books in 4 days. I'm not a big reader, especially of fiction. I feel like the three big...is 'trendy' the right word?... series' that everyone was supposed to read over the past few years were Harry Potter, Those ones about the Mormon vampires, and The Hunger Games. I successfully avoided all of them. But after hearing too much about how The Hunger Games are a 'must read', and 'you won't be able to put them down' and 'it's the best series I've ever read'. And also hearing a VERY, VERY minimal description of the story, (Which by the way, now that I've read them, I think people who say "It's about teenagers who kill each other" have probably never actually read the books) I decided I'd read them. The night I bought the first book I remember saying to Paul, maybe even after a dramatic sigh... "Well, I guess I better just do this." I'd also heard from 2 people that they wished the main character was more likable. I had to laugh after just a few chapters, and I told Paul if he reads these I bet he'll see a lot of me in Katniss. (The main 'unlikable' character.) I fell in love with her...like, borderline girl crush. She has the perfect amount of awesome sassiness. She's independent. Doesn't care what people think of her. And she's not a conformist. What's not to love?!? I had a friend (who I really like, by the way) tell me that she also related to Katniss as well. This was before I read them, so when I heard that I thought, well then Katniss can't be that bad. But at the same time, I can see how some would maybe not love everything about her at first (or ever).

Moving on... My favorite of the three books was Catching Fire, the second book. I was so emotionally connected to all of the characters by the time I got to that book, and then as new ones were introduced, and their stories were told about their time as tributes in the years past, my heart just hurt. I cried a few times. And when President Snow read the rules for the Quarter Quell, I put the book down and sat there starring at nothing. Paul was looking at me and I think all I said, because I didn't want to ruin it for him was, "President Snow is so happy right now..." He had no idea what I meant, but at that point I really did have to take about an hour break to remind myself that it was fiction.

The thing I didn't like about the actual games, were the parts that the gamemakers could add. Wild dogs, monkeys, jabberjays, waves, fog, fire, poisonous berries, etc. Although, what if Foxface was just highly allergic, and now we're all just missing out on some really delicious berries? Anyway, I get that it was their way of showing the ultimate power and control that the capital has, but I hated it still. Some tributes didn't stand a chance because of those elements. I cried when 80 year old Mags walked into the acid fog. So sad.

It took me longer to read the third book than the first and second books combined. It was still pretty fast, but it was my lease favorite of the three. It didn't end how I thought it would, or maybe how I wanted it to...but I don't really know how I thought it would or wanted it to...just not how it did. I'm feeling better now that I've had a few days to digest it. I've thought about the book a lot. A lot. In fact last night I almost ruined something about book 2 for Paul. I barely caught myself, and I said, "Will you just hurry and read the rest of the series so we can start talking again?!" I saw a funny quote online yesterday that said something like, "I'm sorry, did you say something? I could tell when you started talking that it wasn't Hunger Games related, so I tuned you out." Haha! I feel like that a lot lately, and there's not enough people around me who have read them, so I'm limited to text and email!

I feel like I need to read some commentary (because I haven't read any yet) and/or talk about it more with people before I can say that I love how the series ended, because I don't love it, and maybe I never will, but the whole story was so riveting that I really do want to love it. Mockingjay got really dark. A lot of 'no hope in sight' feelings for me. I couldn't even begin to pick up what might happen, which I guess was kind of good, but really heavy feeling too. I was so discouraged when no one would talk to Katniss about Peeta's propo, that's when I saw real trouble starting in District 13, but during that time I liked that Katniss got close with Finnick, I didn't see that coming. But even after Katniss' 'honest' talk with Snow, I was still shocked at Coin's death. Wow, it was all just a lot.

And finally, my thoughts on Gale and Peeta. There was honestly never a time that I was pulling for one over the other. I could never decided who I wanted her to pick. (And I didn't know if she'd have a choice.) I thought once or twice that Gale would die. And at one point during a tracker jacker rage of Peeta's, I wanted Katniss to kill him. I know. It was rough for me. (The only thing that kept me from thinking that Peeta was poisoned to the point of no return while imprisoned at the capital was his, "you..in 13...dead by morning." warning.) There were three things looking back that I see now are the reasons why it had to end how it did. One- Haymitch getting upset at Katniss and telling her to image how Peeta would be treating her if she'd been the one captured and tortured by the capital. (Well played, Haymitch). Two- The conversation in District 12 when Katniss kisses Gale again. And he says, "I knew you'd kiss me." And Katniss says, "How? Beacuse I didn't know myself." And his response is, "Because I'm in pain. That's the only way I get your attention." (Ouch) And lastly, Katniss' thoughts about the dandelions that mean rebirth instead of destruction. That life can go on no matter how bad our losses, and can be good again. And she says, "only Peeta can give that to me". It's true, I guess.

I could go on and on... I'm slightly obsessed with all things Hunger Games right now. I can't wait to see the movie. And I give the series a 9 out of 10. Incredible work.

3 comments:

Becks said...

I was SO rooting for Peeta through the first two books. It drove me crazy mad that she was being so insincere and pretending to be in love with him when he was obviously truly madly crazy about her. Especially at the end of the first book when she reveals she's been leading him on the whole time! Grr. That's probably a big factor in me not liking Katniss. Plus she's so dour. You seem much nicer than she is :)

megantonesforever said...

Loved the series a few years back. Just wanted to read the first book for the movie again and I had to read the rest. I'm in the middle of mockingjay right now. I see the commercials for the movie and get all emotional. You should try the series: uglies, pretties, and specials. Not as good, but kept me reading. I just love books that consume me, so exciting!

Heidi said...

I, like you, had a lot to process after reading and wanted to talk to EVERYONE about it. I found this blog:
http://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/category/hunger-games/
and it really helped me see more clearly behind some of the story that I knew had to be there, but couldn't interpret myself. It really is a brilliant work of fiction and I've come to the place that I think it ended exactly how it had to, as she wrote it as a war story, not a love story. However, when I first read it I was so disappointed that she and Peeta were broken beyond repair. Katniss is a SURVIVOR and then she just gives up at the end? But I can see how 1) her sister's death was almost the death of her - she was the only person she really truly loved and 2) that once she had time for relief, she crumpled after all she had been through.

The other thing that annoyed me was that there was so much brilliant dialogue driving the story and then she concludes it with NEARLY NONE. No conversation (really) with Gale, her mother (oh, and I think I hate her mother the most out of any character), and barely any conversation with Peeta either. That drove me a little batty, but I'm over it.

I'm so excited about the movie too. We had a party last night and I dressed A up as a dandelion and L up as Buttercup. :) We'll have to chat about the movie afterward.