1) It was like fun-dip for my brain
It’s spring break. I’m finally done with my first & only graduate level fiction class that, even though I loved it, had me reading a novel a week. I felt literarily fatigued. I know how lucky I am to be doing what I’m doing, but it was hard for my ADD poet-brain. I was craving something fun & easy for my brain. The Hunger Games delivered.
But it wasn’t just fun, it was FUN. The plot (though not the newest of themes – think Lord of the Flies, Gladiator, any old love triangle) feels freshly handled. The characters are easy to connect with. And the constant threat of bludgeoning kept me turning the pages. I found myself smiling in the airport, walking around PDX grinning like an idiot, wanting to shout to the people around me “this book is so much fun!”
2) I’m bonding with strangers
I couldn’t have picked a better week to finally give in to my friends who have been telling me to “read it, you’ll like it.” People are talking about the books and movie everywhere I go. And it makes me happy. I was in a small store in San Luis Obispo, CA and overheard the bow-tie wearing cashier say “… futuristic coal miners…” and I whipped around to ask if he was talking about The Hunger Games. We became giddy. He joked about not seeing daylight for a few days when he read them, and I joked about how we should start calling ourselves “Gamehumpers.” We wished each other well when I finally left the store.
3) It gives me insight into my students
While I’ve read other teen-phenom books, this is the first one I’ve read while I’m also teaching the target demographic. Throughout the past few quarters of teaching I’ve seen variations of the following email/journal entry/conversation:
“I’m sorry I didn’t turn in my essay/ do my homework/ come to class, but I started reading The Hunger Games and I couldn’t stop.”
I would always chuckle, write a zero in my grade book, then wonder what the fuss was all about. Now I get it. And I’m genuinely pleased to realize, unlike other teen-books, I really did enjoy this one. I’m excited to finally be able to nod in understanding when a student says “I’m sorry I’m late, I lost track of time, the tracker jackers were unleashed.”
4) I love a good female protagonist who can kick serious ass
Asa already wrote a great post this month about rockin’ female protagonists — so I’ll just direct you to read that to get what I mean.
But I will say this: I wish I knew how to survive in the woods. I wish I could hold back tears in emotionally heightened situations. I wish I knew how to sleep in a tree, catch fish in a river, and make a man fall in love with me without even trying.
5) It makes me appreciate being alive
I would die within ten minutes of the Hunger Games starting.
No question about it.
Twelve if I was lucky.