Monday, March 19, 2012

The Hunger Games Reluctance

One of my coworkers started to talk about finally catching up on reading all the Nicholas Sparks books. Which, of course, led into talk about books. And that led into me talking about The Hunger Games. When I brought it up, the other two coworkers nearby got all interested too. “I keep hearing about that.” “My daughter’s friends were talking about it.” “Is it any good?” “What’s it about?” So, I explained the premise of the story to them (basically explaining about the 12 districts, there used to be 13, yada yada, they developed the Hunger Games to keep them in line). When I explained what exactly the Hunger Games WERE, here is their response:

“Oh.”

Not, “Oh, that sounds interesting,” or, “Oh, that sounds like it would be intriguing.”

It was, “Oh, that sounds absolutely horrible. Why would a sweet person like you be reading such a terrible book?

I knew when I told them I would most likely have a negative response. They didn’t say much else. I did explain about Suzanne Collin’s inspiration behind the novel, with war and the like. It didn’t seem to change their thoughts much. So, the conversation changed to other books.

It got me to thinking about it. To be honest, when I first heard of what the books were about, I was reluctant to read them. I am not the type of person to read (or watch, for that matter) anything in the horror genre, or anything with horrific events that are gory and disgusting or extremely disturbing. I am more along the lines of contemporary, coming of age, psychological, and the like. I do read some paranormal and have been reading other dystopians, but that’s about it. The Hunger Games has quite a disturbing premise. A government that forces people to send and watch their children get killed and mutilate on television. It’s really sickening when you think about it.

But with all the talk of it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and wanting to at least SEE for myself what was so special about it. I was worried I’d be reading descriptions of the gross things that would happen to the tributes. It wasn’t as horrific as I imagined. The story wasn’t necessarily about the Hunger Games themselves--it was more about life. The life they all were forced into living. The life that had sad consequences. The life of finding love and friendship under pressure.

People in general don’t realize that though. They hear about a battle to the death and they instantly turn away. What gets me is that these are the same people who watch horror movies and television shows that feature violence for violence sake. What is so different from those things and The Hunger Games? (I mean, if all you’re focusing on is the killing.)


How about you?

Have you talked about The Hunger Games with somebody you know? Did you have a reaction similar to mine? Or did they accept the premise of the book/movie and not care about the negative? How about you--are you okay with the premise of The Hunger Games or do you find it too scary/horrible to try? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!

PS: Pictures have been removed 08/03/2012, you can see some of them on The Hunger Games Facebook Page HERE and HERE.

14 comments:

  1. I personally think THG is tame compared to some other YA books/movies. Battle Royale, Lord of the Flies and Divergent are just a few books that come to mind straight away when I think off books that are more graphic. Most of the killing happens off the screen anyway. You're so right that it's not about the killing anyway. It's about the relationships, the effects of war and the strength of the human spirit. People look at me funny when I tout THG as well. I made someone at work read it and their comment was "I didn't like it because Katniss killed a lynx and I love lynxs and I would have given it a hug instead of killing it" WTF?

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    1. Given it a hug?! They've seen too many Little House On The Prairie episodes... where people don't get their faces bitten off. I mean, I love lynxes too, but Katniss' life is different than ours. Some things you just have to let go no matter how you feel.

      Since I don't read violent/graphic books, I wouldn't know how tame it is compared to others. Divergent, yeah, that was pretty graphic. Maybe with the movie being hyped up, more people will take a chance on it and realize how remarkable it is.

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  2. After the first few times explaining THG I have started out by saying it is a book about survival in the world and survival of politics. I have seemed to find that regular readers are a little more open to themes behind THG and other books, where as people who don't read are a little more opposed to the concept.

    I have to agree with Lan though that there are a lot more explicit YA books.

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    1. That does sound like a better way of describing it. I'm afraid if they don't know more of the details, they'll be mad at me for not disclosing them. Regular readers are more open to it; there are so few of the blogs I follow that haven't read the book. We're used to this kind of stuff.

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  3. I know a lot of people that react that way when they hear what it's about. It makes me wonder if there is something wrong with me. When I heard about them I was like, "awesome! People killing each other off on TV! Sign me up!" Should I be ashamed of myself? Maybe, but it's just a book.

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    1. No, you shouldn't be. I don't see why people are so freaked out about it. I mean, what makes this any different than the realities of war and gladiators in times past? People flock to war and gladiator movies. It's just frustrating how people have double standards.

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  4. I had a friend ask me what the big deal was. And several others just ask me about it period because they hadn't heard of it until the movie trailers started appearing on TV.
    When I try to explain it to the friends who don't read, I get a "meh" response. Or horrified, as if children killing each other is just too outrageous an idea. Maybe they've never heard of govt oppression, or they just don't watch world news, I don't know.
    My friends who DO read but just haven't read this are all "hell yes, sign me up!" They love it.
    There is a tone in THG that just strikes a chord within me...it makes me want to get up and fight alongside Katniss and run through the woods shooting things with my bow and arrow. I love books, but it's rare that a story grabs me the way this one did.
    This weekend can't come soon enough!

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    1. Exactly! It's like people forget what reality is now because they're so consumed in the every day and don't face it personally. War is real.

      I know what you mean about how it strikes a chord. I want to do the same, fight for what is right, justice for all. It's just a powerful feeling.

      It totally can't come soon enough! :)

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  5. I actually just recently picked up The Hunger Games when all the hype of the movie started up. I knew of the book but never paid attention to it until someone actually really went into details and told me about it and my reaction was along the lines of OMG that sounds sooo cool I have to read it..but then again I'm weird like that. Since reading it I have told a few people and some are shocked but curious at the same time while others like my husband who i'm making go watch the movie with me is actually interested ... like he has a choice :)

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    1. So many people are curious... It's nice that my best friend didn't even flinch, and she's not an avid reader either. I'm glad you were able to read it before the movie came out! :)

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  6. My friend actually wants to read The Hunger Games. He just got his degree in Elementary Education and he's heard it's a big book kids have gotten into. I was surprised to hear that he wanted to read it though. 1, I didn't think elementary school kids were into it so I thought it would be pretty off his radar and 2, it doesn't seem like the kind of book he would like.

    There are also cool things like when I talked about The Hunger Games in one of my classes. I was walking back to my dorm and a guy from class came up to me and asked me more about the book. That was a nice little moment there.

    -Kim

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    1. The one coworker of mine has a daughter, I believe she's 11 or maybe 12, and several of her friends were talking about it. So, it's possible some elementary school kids are interested in it. I've noticed a lot of adults getting into it because of their kids though. It is nice when you get to share it with people you know. :)

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  7. I get interested in the Hunger Games after seeing so many reviws here.


    pdf to flash book

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    1. Reviews definitely give ones interest a boost! :)

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