Just call me Elaine. From Seinfeld. You know, the episode when she just doesn’t understand all the hoopla around The English Patient.
I don’t get the frenzy around The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I wanted to like it. I truly did. It was our book club’s latest pick and I really wanted to be able to go to the next meeting and contribute. I started it. I re-started it. I resorted to skimming. But I hated it. Meanwhile, everyone is “replying to all” and saying “Don’t you just love this month’s pick?” and “I stayed up until 4am to finish it. I couldn’t put it down!” and “I’m already finished with the second one in the series!”
You’ve got to be kidding me.
The premise of the book centers around a post-apocalyptic world in which a boy and a girl, ages 12 – 18, are chosen by lottery from each of the surrounding 12 districts to compete in a fight to the death televised event in which there may be only one survivor. Oooooo. A futuristic novel where the life of a human being is no longer valued. Death and destruction become entertainment. The joy of the primitive hunt.
Been there. Done that.
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.
The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King.)
The Running Man starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Loosely based on the book of the same name by Stephen King under his pseudonym Richard Bachman.)
The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell.
And in my research, I discovered the book is deemed eerily similar to the Japanese cult franchise, Battle Royale by Koushun Takami , so much so that fans of Battle Royale are crying plagiarism.
A young adult novel about mass murder as entertainment. And a society that stands for it? Call me Pollyanna, but I’m uncomfortable with a novel that involves prostitution, sadistic torture, encourages suicide and murder and calls itself a young adult novel. I realize it is fiction. And I know the readers of the novel realize this, too. But as far as I could tell, there were no moral lessons learned other than survival will be paramount in the distant future. But why? It’s not a world I would like to live in.
And then there was the mass email that said, “The movie is coming out this month! We should all go! Let’s plan on it!”
How do I get out of that one?