Posted by: Ele Quigan | March 25, 2012

“The Hunger Games” Suzanne Collins

There’s just something about a dystopian future. That devastatingly negative view that we’re either going to ruin our planet via war or pollution that just tickles my overtly disappointing view of the way we look to the future with our current political set – I’m convinced that we’ll end up in some hybrid of “1984”/”Brand New World”/”Transitions” with an element of bizarre historical reference like the Northern Lights series.

So in a nutshell – I love a good dystopian novel.

I’d resisted “The Hunger Games” similar to the way I resisted the Harry Potter series, the Northern Lights series, and even the Twilight series, mostly as I saw them as books for kids. Seeing all the movie hype at the moment did motivate me to finally pick it up – and I unexpectedly really enjoyed it.

Sure it’s got the love triangle romance, the slightly odd positive glimmers (in this case weirdly, it seemed to be fashion?!), but also the protagonist with some parental issue (often either no parents, or shite parents – in this case a missing father an chronically depressed mother) coupled with an inherent skill to survive and achieve beyond their station.

I’m not sure what it is with novels like these, I don’t think you identify with the characters, but maybe you find yourself drawn into their difficulties and quietly rooting for them? Even beyond their obvious annoyances (Hermione, I’m looking at you). The most unusual part of this novel for me was how brutal and graphic it was. As per Battle Royale if you haven’t heard already, reality tv has stepped up a notch, and kids are basically pitched to kill each other in a ‘last one who survies lives a better life’ kind of way.

Did all the violence have a point? Well representing the different communities and dog eat dog world of this dystopian future there was already going to be some kind of violence, judgement and anger. But also of course there were going to be the alliances and nice to each other bits that we’ve come to recognise on any ‘Big Brother’ or ‘Survivor ‘ tv show.

Betting on survivability? That’s kind of a metaphor for an outside view on ou own lives is it not? (it’s not, I’m purely coming up with bullshit to make this book sound deeper than it actually is…)

I do find the concept of survivor instinct an interesting premise. Drop me off in the bush for 2 weeks I don’t think I’d be very good at thinking on my feet. I doubt I’d know how to trap a rabbit and survive, yet if pushed? do you ever really realise what the human condition is capable of?

I do think the fashion angle was a bit weird. I don’t feel that the emphasis on how you look that is so prevalent within our society is a healthy one, yet I guess this novel is correct in the fact it will never go away, as we women will continue to be judged as such for the rest of our time on this fair planet (and probably beyond).

I guess I am sold on the book, I’m going to try and catch the film at some stage, will probably try and get the sequels to read in the next couple of weeks, lest I manage to read some kind of spoiler. And you know – if I could choose a series for young people read and be inspired – better something like this that values a strong female character hell bent on surviving what is put in front of her rather than some weaker, shadow of a female – who feels that love is her only option, and collapses into a near catatonic state once her weedy vampire boyfriend breaks up with her…

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