Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Hunger Games: Book Reaction

(skip down to the stars if you want the actual book review- and not just the steps that led to me picking it up and reading it)
My first brush with this series was after the 3rd book in the trilogy had been released.  My husband sent me a message asking what I thought about the series or if I had heard of it- I don't remember his exact question.  I do remember doing some scant research on it- thinking it sounded to much like a Japanese horror movie- and curtly replying that I had no interest in the series.  It was a mean response to say the least.  After unintentionally chasing him off with my grumpiness I did a little more research about the series.  There were 2 things that immediately stood out to me during my research- the first was that it was written in first person; the second was that it was very popular among teenagers.  With that in mind I dismissed the series- and decided that I wanted nothing to do with it.
Why did I dismiss it like this? Simple- the last series that had this kind of popularity was Twilight.  I tried to read these books when I was pregnant with my son and couldn't get out of bed.  I had nothing else to do- so why not?  I honestly didn't make it past the second page.  The writing was so terrible I felt that I was reading the unedited journal of a 14 year old girl.  Honestly if I wanted read writing that bad I had my own journal from that age I could have pulled out and read.  So I prejudged the hunger games and was almost violently against the books.
A few months later I caught my sister-in-law reading it.  I was surprised by this at first; but then she explained she felt she needed to read it because she wanted to know what her students were reading.  I think I said some mean things about the book again- Kimberly is so sweet that she brushed off whatever I said- and if she did take offense she kept it well hidden.
When the movie ended up on Amazon I decided 'eh what the heck- it cannot be worse than that Japanese film I had to sit through'.  (to this day I cannot remember the name of the movie I saw- it was not battle royal but had the same theme of people killing each other)
I was surprised by a few things when I saw the movie- first off- it wasn't horrible.  Secondly- it treated the deaths of the 'game' with respect.  Which I found intriguing.  Did I pick up the book then? oh no.  Still refused to read it.  I mean; I didn't hate the first Twilight movie either (although it was a dumb movie; I admitted that even after I saw it).
I started following the actors of the movie- I don't know why- but I was just drawn to them.  Then The Hunger Games was a free movie on netflix- so I watched it a few more times.  Each time I saw it I liked it more.  Still refused to read the book.
Then Catching Fire came to theaters- one of my sisters couldn't get enough of it.  Finally last semester ended and my husband and I went to the theater to watch it.  I loved it.  It still took me nearly a month and a half to pick up the book and read it.
technically- I didn't read it.  I still haven't- but I checked out an audio book from the library so I could listen to it while I did homework. I was amazed by the book.

The beginning took me a bit to get into- I listened to another book between chapter one and chapter two.  Even though I initially found the story slow I found I really liked the writing.  This surprised me- as the book is in first person (as you already know) and I generally do not like books written that way.  Once I was out of other audio books to read- and had only a few days before I'd have to return the book I really started to listen to it.
The story I was already familiar with unfolded- I found myself impressed by the way that Suzanne Collins wrote the characters; I had a clear mental picture of each.  Some looked like the actors that portrayed them in the movie- some (Hamish in particular) looked nothing like what was portrayed in the movie.  The story moved at a steady pace- told completely from Katnis's point of view- so as the reader I felt just as surprised by events that happened in the book as she did.  I think this as a great choice by the author- because it allowed the book to have more meaning.
I'm happy that I finally got over my preconceived prejudices about the books and finally picked them up. It has been a really good experience.
I've started reading the second book and am enjoying it more than the first.  I'd say more about the first- but the two stories are starting to merge in my head a little.  So I'm gong to leave this little reaction here- when I finish the second one I think I might publish what I think of it a little faster. (maybe the same day I finish it!)


1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I had a similar experience. The first Hunger Games book was a freebie on Amazon Kindle, so I gave it a shot, figuring I would read the first couple of chapters before passing judgement. I started at 11pm, and finally at 2am decided I should stop for the night. (I had work the next day haha) Once Kimberly found out I had started the series, she bought the boxed set that day, so I would have 2 and 3 to move right into when I finished the prior one. I wasn't expecting to like them, as they were so popular... and I have this preconceived notion that popularity among books means they must be poorly written at a lower level of intelligence. :) I am considering reading through them a second time.
    I agree with you on the movie. Haymitch was a little too clean cut, but I've seen that actor in grungy roles before, so it wasn't a stretch for me. Peta, on the other hand... why couldn't they get a big, heavy guy to play him? I never got the impression he was fat... but he was really strong in the books :p