I just finished reading the 3 hunger games books and wanted to say a bit about them.
First of all, Suzanne Collins is a very talented writer. Although the books are written for a teen audience (published by Scholastic), they hold up well for adults. The vocabulary might be basic, but the pacing is suspense perfection. The ideas and themes seem simple, but they wind their way through many situations to make a more complicated pattern in their totality.
The books are hard to put down. I’ve lost plenty of sleep over the past week because of them. We’re visiting my daughter who had all three. She had the same problem with them.
The setting is a post-apocalyptic US with people struggling to get by as best they can. That might sound dull, but the characters pull you in. You can’t forget some of these characters even after finishing the books.
The Hunger Games is the first book and sets the stage for the drama to come. The “games” are to the death, unfortunately. “Love in the Wild” it is not. I hate violence and was grateful that not much was described graphically in the books.
The contrast between the rich district with the poor districts it controls is very strong. The Capital is not quite the stereotype of imperial Rome, but there are parallels. You notice how the main character learns who she can and cannot trust. It’s not easy!
Does any of this have anything to do with frugal living? Some. Throughout the books you see how people have learned to survive with their skills: baking bread, weaving, hunting, knowing wild plants and berries are just a few. You probably will never need to know these things, but it is interesting to see how their skills and knowledge help them at every turn. I saw some moss in my daughter’s candle holder & immediately thought, “Put some on an open wound.” I guess I’ve immersed myself in the Hunger Games world a bit much this week. By the way, their country is named Panem. We don’t find out until the third book that it takes its name from the Latin phrase for “bread and circuses.” Panem means bread. Of course the Hunger Games arena is the circus part (gladiators). The Romans used bread and circuses to keep their populace under control. Bread is a recurring theme in the books as well.
There’s plenty of action in these books. It reads like a combination of an adventure/sci-fi/love story. And masterfully done. I’ve read that some of the names in the books are becoming popular names for babies these days. That’s impact.
You will never look at a mockingbird the same way again.