Hype being what it is, I (as a pretty good judge of books) support the Hunger Games trilogy as good storytelling and writing. I met the author, Suzanne Collins, in 2010 at a small gathering at the New England Independent Booksellers offices, Boston, when Mockingjay was released. Fascinated by her description of the coversations her armed services career Dad and she would have about greek mythology, ancient battles and just the idea of in depth family discussions between parent and child, my sense of the author behind the stories was heightened. I viewed the movie inpretation of The Hunger Games twice just to make sure I got my sense of screen adaptation in proper perspective. I’m calm with the screenplay, missing some of the details or ‘changes’ to the story, but generally OK with the result. So, back to the hype….just like Harry Potter, the Twilight series and ???, readers as young as 8 years old say, “I want to read this book!” My little librarian’s heart sighs when this happens. Why? Why NOT instant gratification? Well, my personal reaction to the triology is this: THESE ARE POLITICAL BOOKS, PEOPLE! filled with a unique storyline, fully realized characters and truly, TRULY HUGE ETHICAL situations. An 8 year old getting carried away because kids get to play real survivor games? What fun? I think not. I have a good friend – the grandmother – who bought Mockingjay for her 8 year old granddaughter because she wanted it (and books are good, right?). No, I would not chastise anyone for buying a book, but, just like wine (That’s an ancient reference only some of us will get.) to paraphrase – ‘Read no book before its time.’ The beauty of those conversations that Suzanne and her father had were that they set an informed stage and opportunity for the young person to test reaction and thought to historical or literary situations. Reading books can do that, too, but it is subsequent query and dialogue that really create a fully realized reaction to the book/story. So, the FACT, that parents are also reading this trilogy gives families opportunities to gather together for their own ‘training’ of young minds when it comes to discussing why a book is read and what is its impact on us. I am attaching a portion of an interview with Suzanne Collins and Scholastic where she is asked, “What age do you think these books are suited to…?” You will appreciate her response, I think. In the meantime, read AND talk with someone about what you’ve read. If nothing else, reading the Hunger Games trilogy will sharpen your senses towards perspective and hidden agendas. May the odds be ever in your favor, of course.
PS: I do not take myself THAT seriously.