Sending off 24 children between the ages of 12 and 18, build an artificial arena and throw in a couple of weapons for those kids to beat each other to a bloody pulp. That in short sums up the whole concept of the Hunger Games and immediately that what has drawn me to read these books.
A friend of mine recommended them to me after reading them all in three days herself. Buying the whole series at once, I prepared for what some friends told me the most exciting read in the past couple of years. Boy, were they right.
You get sucked right into the story. For me it was the utter unfairness of the way that the Capitol treats their citizens and their complete arrogance as to forcing their people, their humans that have to work their asses of to provide the Capitol with the luxury to rest on their laurels while everybody else is starving, to give up their children for slaughter as Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac. This story differs slightly, flying limbs and the flowing of blood is not held back by the Capitol when the children seem willing to die for them. No, die they must.
The resemblance to Hollywood and big brother is watching you are new revelations that I have gained during our group discussions. The mind map that we made drove us further and further into the plot of the book, which made it clearer to see what the intentions of the writer were. It is not just about the kids killing each other, but also a deeper sense, that of that we should live and be the society, and not let the society live us. Privacy and free choices are great goods, and we should treat them with respect if we intend to keep them.
The loss of innocence, which we discussed in class, is highly prominent in this book. In my opinion, the loss of Katniss’ innocence starts with the death of her father. From being a child, she is suddenly forced to step into a parental position in order to keep their family from starving to death after her mother seems to have gone into shock and refuses to even utter a word, let alone feed her kids. Katniss does not complain a bit, she steps right into place. Even when starvation is at their door, she is determined and finds new ways to still the hunger of her family every day. We do see moments in which Katniss remembers her father and misses him a lot. This gives us an insight in the fact that even though she might seem like a hard, grown up person on the outside while on the inside she still feels like a child every now and again.
When it comes to age group, I think this book is suitable around the age of 14 and up. The writing is clear and concise and the plot is fairly easy to follow. There is action all around and that is also why I think it is suitable for both boys and girls around that age.
The several other books that we discussed in class were Tuck Everlasting, Pigeon English and Lord of the Flies. Both books face the loss of innocence and life choices that will affect the rest of the characters’ lives. They are offered of forced into big decisions, which makes them grow up very fast. I have not read either of them, but the discussions that were going on around me in class made me very interested in them, and I might read them as well when I have the time.