Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Review and Writing Inspiration: Re-Read of The Hunger Games

 Author: Suzanne Collins
 Pages: 374
 Publisher: Scholastic
 Genre: Young Adult / Dystopian
 First Published: October 28, 2008
 First Line: "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold." 
 Buy it from: Amazon
                   Barnes & Noble

THE GIST (From Goodreads):

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


On the Tuesday before the release of the movie, I decided to re-read the Hunger Games in anticipation of seeing the movie opening night. I pull the book off my shelf, surprised at how small it was. Looking it up it's about, what? 60,000 words? It says a lot about the story that, looking back, I had thought it was much bigger. It's amazing that such a little book could hold, in my mind, a book double its size in content.

Now that I started this book blog, I've been a little more critical of the books I read than when I first read the book. As an aspiring writer, that's been a good thing as I've noticed writing style a lot more now. As a reader, I feel like it makes me step away from the story, something I can't stand. When reading Collin's THG, I saw how stylistically she achieved so much in so little words. In total, I think there were about, maybe, 5 pages of dialogue all together. (And let's just say my WIP is a hell of a lot more dialogue than that).

Most of the book was Katniss explaining things in inner monologue. Usually, that drives me crazy since it's the MC thinking about every little thing and dissecting it. I think it works for THG because it gives a lot more insight on Panem and Katniss that none of the characters would have spoken outloud. She is much more of an action person than she is an over-thinker, so much of the writing was her thinking out her options or explaining things or remembering related events. It wasn't so much of her thinking about how she feels because, honestly, I don't think she really knows how she feels about anything which is completely understandable given the circumstances.

The problem that came with the movie was that it took you outside Katniss' world into the heads of the gamemakers. Of course, you can't get Katniss' explanations so this was a necessary evil, but it also lead me to feel almost nothing for the characters. It was more about the Panem than it was about Katniss' struggle, in my opinion, and that's what disappointed me about the movie.

Anyway, this is not a review of the movie. The movie, however, really gave me a lot of inspiration for my writing. It showed me how much I want to write something that gives the reader the same excited, anticipatory feelings I had when the screen went black and the movie started, about seeing characters I loved so much come to life. That feeling that you know those people on screen, that you have some sort of relationship with them, is utterly amazing considering they are merely just people who were made from words. Paper people who are more real than the characters on the screen. Anything that renews my need to complete my WIP is a gift, especially in those hours after work where I am tired and sick of looking at a computer scene. When I open up my laptop and think, this can wait one more day, right? On those days when I feel like I just can't do it. Those are days I'll conjure the feeling I had about The Hunger Games and somehow find the resolve to keep going.

Lastly, let me just say. I'm Team Peeta all the way. I didn't think Josh Hutchinson was good but, after having re-read it, I can definitely picture him as Peeta. Yummy....


Read it, watch the movie. Just don't think their equal.---10