I decided to read this book before the movie came out due in large part to its popularity with some of my students. They were all very excited about the movie and I felt it was time for me to see what all the hubbub was about…so I cracked the cover. And didnt move from the couch until I read the last page. At which point, I resurfaced, looked around and wondered where to find the rest of the series now!!
This book was set in post war America where there were now only 12 areas that people occupy. Katniss, a 16 year old girl who lives in (what appears to be) Appalachia in this new world, is whip smart, a skilled hunter, who provides for her mother and sister. The area they live in is very poor and food is scarce. Each year, the government selects a boy and a girl from each of the 12 areas to go to the Hunger Games. The games are a reenactment, a sacrifice from each area to remind them that the government rules and to keep uprisings to a minimum. Katniss steps in and takes her sisters place at the games.
The games are a cross between Lord of the Flies meets Romeo and Juliet meets 1984 mets The Running Man. They are vicious, bloody and controlled by the government who run the game to keep each district in line. The characters have a handler who had won in the past, and helped them understand what they needed to do to survive. The world of the capital is all about how things look but there is no reality. The games begin with all the boys and girls let loose in an arena. The purpose of the games it to survive and kill off all competition. Katniss survives, and manages to bring home the boy from her district as well after outwitting the government. It was a bloody, gorey, tragic, exciting, and heroic story and I can well understand the hubbub its created. Its clever, realistic and lively.
See you at the finish line!