Yeah, I read the damn Hunger Games. And I liked it. I won’t judge you for judging me.
But hear me out first.
I’m a sucker for a good story about freedom. And although the concept is simplified – dumbed down, really – in Suzanne-Collins land, at least it’s there.
Awkward fact: In high school, I was totally that kid who wandered around with a battered paperback copy of Atlas Shrugged tucked under my arm, smugly certain of – and obnoxiously vocal about – my position on every issue under the sun, no matter how trivial.
(Unfortunately, because someone decided it was a good idea to let me be Editor-in-Chief of our school newspaper, many of these positions are now recorded in print, for posterity. Thank Galt this was before things went digital.)
Anyway, of course, I’ve evolved. Beyond secondhand flannel shirts and thrifted Chuck Taylors. And also beyond taking the ideological road on every single issue. But deep down, I admit: I’m still rather smitten by rebellion and defiance, and by people taking a stand against governments that are doing things that they shouldn’t be doing.
And although it’s a teen-oriented book, peppered with nauseating Twilight-esuqe romantic dialogue and populated by one-dimensional characters that push the limits of credibility, there’s a little bit of Ayn Rand in The Hunger Games. A little bit of George Orwell. A little bit of Aldous Huxley. A little bit of all of the books that really fired me up about reading and learning and having opinions on things, back when I was a gawky adolescent.
In other words, there’s a skeleton of something meaningful and thought-provoking in The Hunger Games books. They may not go down as classic pieces of literature, but at least they do more than paint a generic “goodies versus baddies!” picture. They touch on an element of classic dystopian writing that many teenagers would probably never otherwise have exposure to.
So for that, Ms. Collins, I’m willing to overlook those awkwardly-written kisses and underdeveloped characters.
I haven’t read the last book in the series yet. It’s in transit on an order from Borders. [SO HEY, no spoilers!] I kind of hope it arrives tomorrow. I have the weekend off, and I wouldn’t mind spending my Saturday curling up with a little Mockingjay.
So if you must, judge away. Really, go ahead. I’ll be sitting in the corner pretending to be as stoic as Dagny Taggart.
PS: Have you checked your wallet, purse, underwear drawer, etc for unused Borders GCs? They’re about to go out of business, and I managed to rustle up almost $40 worth of books by combining a bunch of unused and partially-used cards that I had laying around!
PPS: Have you read any of the Hunger Games books? No? Do you want to? I’ll happily send my lightly-used copy of the first book to someone. Just tell me you’re interested in the comments and I’ll pick a random winner at beer o’clock on Sunday!