So I finally read The Hunger Games. It only took several (several) months of friends telling me, “You have to read this book!” for me to decide I didn’t want to read the damn book. Plus, there was the movie tie-in. I wasn’t interested in seeing the movie. Why would I be interested in reading the book?
I admit it was my pride. I don’t like reading books that are all the rage. My friend, Sam (who, by the way, is certifiably insane for The Hunger Games trilogy) refuses to read Fifty Shades of Gray for this very reason. Well, I read Fifty Shades of Gray, long before I realized it was “hip” to do so. Now that it’s so insanely popular, I’m kind of embarrassed to say I read it on our honeymoon. Regardless of my admitted affiliation with Christian Gray, I still didn’t want to read The stinkin’ Hunger Games.
Here’s how it happened: I was in the library the other day, because I love being in libraries. I was browsing through the young adult section, because Jake’s brother, Zach, got me on this gay vampire series and I wanted to see if I could find the third book. Instead of my gay vampire book, I found three copies of The Hunger Games. My fingers twitched when I saw the dog-eared paperback cover. I glanced to my right and left. I felt guilty—guilty to even consider going back on all I’d said about not wanting to read this Suzanne Collins trilogy. No one was looking, so I grabbed the stupid book and ran out the door (after checking out, obviously).
What happened next? I read the book in three days. Now, I know this is nothing to some of you who read the book in eight hours (Sam). But hey, let’s agree this isn’t Harry Potter. I could read a Harry Potter book in eight hours. I am certifiably obsessed with HP, which is why I’ve dedicated countless hours of my life to reading and rereading Rowling’s magnum opus in its entirety. I do not carry the same affinity for Collins and her games, but I did already pick up the second book, and I am avidly following Katniss and Peeta back through the woods.
I’ve had nightmares the past couple days—bloody ones, where people get killed in horrible ways. I had one where I had to say goodbye to Jake because I was one of the chosen tributes, and I knew I was going to die in the forest. I haven’t slept well at all; I blame The Hunger Games. It is an all-encompassing story. It has guts, gore, love, and revolution. I enjoy all these things.
Even more enjoyable, the writing is better than expected for the young adult genre, but as I’ve noticed, YA is no longer written for teens. I believe many YA authors are now targeting adults, and for that, I love them, because young adult literature is so honest—so black and white. There are good guys; there are bad guys; pick your side. If only life were so simple. In YA books, life is that simple. Hoozah!
Will I complete this trilogy I once dreaded? Of course. Like I said, I’m already almost finished with book two, Catching Fire. I blame my friend Sam. She’s the one who talked this book up, and she’s the one who went absolutely bonkers when she heard I was reading The Hunger Games. We had a deep, at-length discussion over dinner this past Saturday night about Collins and her characters. It had been a long time since I really delved into a work of literature with a good friend. It had been too long. For that, I thank The Hunger Games.
Really, I have to thank The Hunger Games and Suzanne Collins in general. You’ve made a fan out of me, a doubter. You’ve also made fans of millions of kids who wouldn’t be reading without you. Like the worlds of Harry Potter and Narnia, the world of Panem is showing kids that reading can be fun. I’ve been reminded as well.