“The Hunger Games” – The Book

I decided I better jump on this bandwagon a lot sooner than I did the “Twilight” bandwagon.  I wanted to actually be able to jump on the bandwagon instead of wave as it passed me by.  So, I did.  I will say right now that I wasn’t a huge fan of the book.  I liked it, but I thought it was going to be something that I read in two or three days.  It took me 11.  Not bad, but not addicting to the point of ignoring my family and making them scrounge around for something to eat for dinner while I peacefully read my book.

It started off slow, but I did like Katniss.  She is smart, can make beef jerky, and doesn’t need a man to define her.  I pegged her as a “Joan of Arc” character.  I was pretty convinced that my prediction, that this book would never really get to the point where kids were viciously killing each other on reality television, would be correct.  Katniss would rally the troops to not fight each other, but to fight back at the government.  I can boastfully say that I can predict the plot twist of a movie from watching the trailer or a commercial.  I’m so good I had “The Sixth Sense” figured out within the first 20 minutes of the movie.  “Shutter Island?”  Haven’t even seen it and I can tell you what happens.  “The Hunger Games?”  I was way off.  Kids do kill other kids viciously and blood-thirstily for survival, for enjoyment and for entertainment.

I think Suzanne Collins is a pretty smart cookie, and she has written a book about something I’ve thought about many times.  Where do we draw the line between entertainment and humanity?  I used to love “Survivor” in its first two seasons, but after that I had to stop watching.  The contestants were so rude and downright mean to each other, and they had the excuse that it was all in the “name of the game” to account for their nastiness.  I felt dirty watching it.  And not just because no one had showered in 30 days, but that was part of it.

The same goes for “The Bachelor,” which I’ll admit to watching for about five seasons until it became blatantly obvious that the only thing these women were interested in was winning.  And I don’t mean winning the bachelor.  They could care less about that guy; they just want the satisfaction of destroying the competition.  Women can be real bitches, when in fact we should be rooting for, helping and standing by each other.  It’s a fact of life that some women are intent on destroying other women.  Low or no self-esteem?  Getting rid of the competition?  I’m not sure what their reasons are.  The fact that this show is still on television amazes me.  How many of these “proposals” has ended in a marriage?  Keep thinking.  The answer is zero.  Or maybe it’s one.  That guy who proposed to the “wrong” girl and then married the runner-up.  Yeah, he’s a catch.

I’ve often thought what is wrong with me as I sit and watch other people implode on TV?  Obviously, Suzanne Collins was wondering the same thing.  Well, not what was wrong with me, but what is wrong with us as a society?  We love watching people fail, relish in our own so-called “status,” and are so competitive, we suck the fun right out of living.  Add this to a world where big government rules and you get “The Hunger Games.”

The Hunger Games
Book Cover, www.barnesandnoble.com

Competition is good, but not when it turns mean-spirited, or when it makes you lose sight of the big picture.  I’m all for bringing back colored ribbons on field day, and actually can’t believe they ever went to a “we’re all equal” strategy in the first place.  But, it’s sad when you turn on the news to see that Easter egg hunts around the country are being cancelled because the parents can’t let their kids be kids.  One town in Georgia had to hold a press conference the day before their egg hunt to lay down the law with the parents.  The rule – “no parents hunting for eggs.”  Duh, isn’t that a given?  Those are some tax dollars put to good use.

The reality is “The Hunger Games” is a book, and an interesting one.  I guess it could be a reality someday.  I hope I’m not around to witness it if it is.  In the meantime, I’ll keep my reality TV watching to a minimum and I’m letting my kid be a kid.  We’re trying a few different activities to see what she likes and what she’s good at, and I’m happily sitting on the sidelines cheering her on either way.  Should I sign her up for archery now?  Do you think they take 4 year-olds?

P.S. – I’m team Peeta.

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