Next week, The Hunger Games movie will be released.Â This movie is based on the first of three young adult novels written by Suzanne Collins.Â Â The Hunger Games, was released in 2008 with the second book, Catching Fire, released in 2009, and the third, Mockingjay, released in 2010.
These three books have been in my youngest daughter’s library since they first came out, but I just recently read them in anticipation of the movie’s release.
They are compelling books to read, and, once I started them, I could not put them down until I was done.Â While not literature of the highest order (there are several sections that just go on and on), they are compelling in large part to the morally complex choices confronted by the main characters.
The novels are told in the first person by the protagonist and main character, Katniss Everdeen, who is 16 years old in the first novel.Â She lives in the poorest of 12 Districts that are part of the country of Panem in a post-apocalyptic North America.
The people who live in the Capitol liveÂ lives of excess while the people in the Districts barely manage to exist and in fact many starve to death.Â The Capitol further subjugate the people of the Districts by making them pick a boy and aÂ girl “tribute” between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games which is a fight to the death with only one “Victor.”Â They are then forced to watch the games while the tributes slaughter each other in televised matchesÂ where theÂ Capitol manages the event by adding challenges along the way – it’s the ultimate reality show.
In the first book, both tributes from District 12 manage to survive by a combination of sheer luck, determination, and quick thinking.Â The result, however, is the start of a rebellion of which Katniss is the catalyst, unbeknownst to her.
The second book is a segue to the final book and, like many middle books and movies, it tends to move the slowest while fleshing out the details for the final book.
The final book culminates the story of the rebellion with a surprise twist.Â All’s well that end’s well is not the moral of the story here, however, as the price that is paid by the participants is significant.
I have read reviews that suggest that a comparison can be made to our current political climate of “class warfare” and the excesses of the 1% at the expense of the 99%.Â All I can say about that is that it seems that we tend to repeat the mistakes of the past especially when it comes to using war and violence to solve problems and blaming the poor / victims forÂ what happens to them.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the movie.Â We’ll get to see some new, young actors and actresses (much like we did with the Harry Potter movies), and we’ll get to see some seasoned veterans, too – Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy (he should be good playing this dark character), Stanley Tucci (I love Stanley Tucci)Â as Caesar Flickerman, Lenny Kravitz (interesting choice and can’t wait to see him in this role) as Cinna, and Donald Sutherland (he can play a mean bad guy) as President Snow.
May the odds be ever in your favor.
– Effie Trinket (played by Elizabeth Banks)