Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Hunger Game - First Book Thoughts

With the wide popularity of the young adult series and the film coming out, I knew I had to get my hands on Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games.

I anticipate some additional posts on some of these topics, but here's the first thoughts on the book (We'll try to keep these relatively spoiler free).

► The book isn't a phenomenal piece of "literature" in the sense that it's writing style is only so-so.

►In terms of plot and suspense, it's definitely one that keeps the reader engaged. I credit this to ease of read, "plot shock," continued suspense, and very good plot pacing.

► When I read this, one of the earliest thoughts I had was that somehow some of the shock value in the book (a premise about kids killing kids) might seem increasingly disturbing in a film version.

► There was often times I felt like the set up of the actual "Hunger Games" themselves seemed oddly similar to the TV Show Survivor including some of the promotion and filming associated with the story. Too me, that was a sting against Collins creativity.

►Part of me wonders if this book will become a "classic" (in the loosest sense of the word) or just be fad fiction, and there is a part of me, that could see this book taking a "classic" type of role, particularly if it becomes a staple of the education system, which I could see as possible since I think it reads in such a way that teachers could use it as a teaching stage for middle school and early high school.

►Part of me wonders if making a film will hurt it's chances of filling that "classic" role.

►I think there is a fascination in literature with Utopian/anti-Utopian literature, and when literature doesn't get too sci-fi (which I don't think this book does) people gravitate towards it.

► I think Gary Ross had an easy job in adapting this book to film because the book reads almost like a screenplay. The scenes play straight without a lot of figurative language, the narrative is pretty straight forward, and the descriptions are detailed enough that you can picture the action, not to mention there is almost always action and short dramatic scenes. Some of that seems natural to the book due to the fact that many of the scenes are written as "televised on TV."

► The book is certainly the type that leaves you wanting to recommend it, talk about it, and read subsequent books in the series (which I plan to do)


Amy said...

Suzanne Collins started out as a screenwriter which is why her books are structured as such, three acts, etc. I'm glad you liked it enough to read the next one.

Anthony said...

I enjoyed the first book.. I didn't think books two and three were as good.

Eralel83 said...

All I know is that I am excited about the movie. We'll see how closely it lines up with the book. I know they don't go into detail about the Avox's and Madge. Not sure about what else. Would have been fun to see with you!

Grete said...

I think what you notice about the "Survivor-esque" reality show aspect is what makes the idea more real. Like, our culture - humanity - has been capable of messing with (& killing) people's lives for the sake of entertainment in the past. (Gladiator games?) Who's to say something like this couldn't occur in a distant future?

I'm most curious to see how the movie can portray all the first-person narrative within Katniss. Unless they play out every flashback, mental connection, and juggling of emotions visually, I don't see how it can fully encapsulate the battle inside her...

(Also, I think the second book was better than the third, but the first was definitely the best. But reading all three is needed to "complete" the story.)