Better Than the Movie: The Hunger Games

Better Than the Movie: The Hunger Games


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Imagine a future America where a central government rules all with an iron fist, fed by the tribute of 12 subjugated colonies. Those in the capital city live lives of ease, abundance and entertainment at the expense of the colonists, who struggle against nature every day to survive. This is the life of the teenage Katniss, a girl who risks punishment for excursions beyond the electric fence to find food for her widowed mother and young sister.

Her slow trudge toward a bleak future is suddenly interrupted when her sister’s name is drawn to compete in the annual Hunger Games, and Katniss volunteers in her sibling’s place. The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. Twenty-four teens from the 12 colonies are chosen to fight to the death in an arena of diabolical design, their every word and action televised to a riveted nation. Because the colony of the winning contestant receives extra food allotments for an entire year, the full attention of the colonies focuses on the outcome.


The story follows Katniss through her preparation and competition. Although she wishes only to survive, Katniss’ ingenuity, selflessness, and defiance soon earn the admiration of viewers across the nation. She slowly becomes that which the Capital fears the most: a symbol of rebellious hope to the oppressed colonies. Even if she survives the games, she may not survive the wrath of the central government.


Much has been said about the Hunger Games trilogy – that it is a knock-off of previous works, that it is simplistic in its view of humanity, that it is little more than a moral parable. The critics, however, have missed the bigger picture. Ms. Collins has painted a portrait of an America not far removed from our own – one where the oppression of race has been replaced by the oppression of class, and where the divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ has grown deep. She achieves what every author should – to have the reader care deeply for the main character, and to have the reader think deeply about the circumstances and actions of that character. This novel is a tremendous mixture of action and relationships, and should not be missed by any teen reader.

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