So I might be a little late on the bandwagon with this but I have just finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I read it for work, since I work in a library. I've been asked to hold a discussion about the book towards the end of the summer holidays with a group of high school students and I jumped at the chance - read a book for work? YEAH!
I had cheated a little and saw the film at the cinema when it was out earlier in the year so I knew what to expect but I didn't think that the film would be exactly like the book! Now when I say this, I don't mean it as a compliment (sorry Hunger Gamers!); maybe I've read too much Harry Potter in my life (is there such a thing??!!), but I expected the book to have more detail about this future world and about the characters. Now I hate comparing books to movies but it is inevitable, and the one thing I will say for the film is that, I felt, it was much more gracious to the character of Katniss than the book. In the film I found her character had the balance as a protective older sister, survivor and confused teenager. However in the book she comes across as whiny, moaning, paranoid and unforgiving; it is not often that I read a book and I really dislike the main character but in this case I did.
I have to say though there were times in the middle when I started to warm to Katniss as she seemed to be growing up a little but it was lost by the end - how can she not see that Peeta is completely besotted with her??? And that Gale loves her??? What is wrong with her?! She also doesn't appear to feel much guilt about breaking Peeta's heart, but then maybe that will come later in Catching Fire and Mockingjay (which I am now going to have to read purely because I know that it is a trilogy.).
I have spoken to lots of people about this book, before and after I read it and the reaction seems to have been the same: adults think that it is a fantastic concept for a book, but they agree that Katniss is a bit paranoid and self absorbed (but then aren't most sixteen year-olds?). Kids: love it! They can't gush about it enough but I worry; because they don't seem to be understanding the themes or seeing flaws in the characters, and is that not what reading is about? Escapism, yes; but also about finding truth and seeing yourself reflected in the characters? Like I said what sixteen year old isn't a bit selfish, but is it possible that they're not seeing this as a flaw? Maybe I'm reading too much into it, or maybe I'm secretly ninety-three years old: "Back in my day..." Ha ha!
Like I said though I will have to read the next two books, and I hope that Katniss grows up a bit and stops the moaning; and that Peeta realises that she's not all that great and moves on; but maybe that's just me. In the mean time I am moving on to something I know I am going to enjoy - A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin - Game of Thrones anyone?? :)