There is so much that has been written about this book, that it almost seems futile to add my opinion to the overwhelming discussions that have been prompted by this truly astounding book. However, as promised, I am reviewing all books that I have given a 5-star rating to and, since this book is so memorable, I thought it would be a good place to start.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Let me begin by saying that I started and abandoned this book 3 times before I managed to muster sufficient courage to get past the opening chapters where the shocking details of the Hunger Games were described. The concept is beyond harrowing and, as a mother, I found it almost impossible to continue.
I eventually reminded myself that this is, in fact, a work of fiction and that many of the books I read during my studies were equally horrifying and had closer ties to reality (any Holocaust themed novel would fall into this category). So I forced myself to get through the opening chapters and I am so pleased that I did.
"I couldn't put it down" must be the most overused phrase in book reviews but, the truth is, I genuinely could not put this book down. I was completely engrossed in the plot and experienced every emotion felt by the heroine Katniss. What a survivor! She is a role-model for EQ (Emotional Intelligence for those of you that are not familiar with a current business fad!). She is capable of enduring the most devastating setbacks without retreating into self-pity or victim mode. Imagine if you could teach your children that skill?
The Hunger Games is, at its essence, a book about survival. A corrupt government forces children to battle it out to the death in a "Reality" show. Katniss and Peeta find themselves competing in the Hunger Games and we see the horror through the eyes of Katniss. It is a very well written book and the main character Katniss is beautifully developed. Peeta is not as well developed but, since the book is told from Katniss's perspective, that is to be expected. The supporting characters have just sufficient depth to be interesting. The most important supporting character is Gale, Katniss Everdeen's best friend and hunting partner, prior to the Games. Gale is is also a survivor, but his survival is expressed through anger and rebellion. The foundation for the love-triangle that will be fully explored in the next two books of the trilogy, are firmly established in this opening book.
In the apocalyptic/post apocalyptic or dystopian genre, this book definitely number 1 in my opinion. This is not a book that you read this for enjoyment but rather for a sense of justice and victory!