Why The Hunger Games is (Kind of) Addicting


Peeta Mellark clutches a loaf of burnt bread in an image from the Hunger Games movie that has been immortalized by meme generators and Tumblr.

Kelsi Lerner, Staff Writer

When my mother picked up a copy of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, I knew that it was time to bite the bullet and give in to this new teen book fad. I know everyone in the country now knows what The Hunger Games is, but for those of you who don’t, the first book in the trilogy is about a post-apocalyptic America who each year takes two kids aged 12 to 18 from every district (of which there are 12) and has them fight to the death in a way of “keeping the people down, man.” The story revolves around the kids from the poorest district, District 12, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. They are (possibly) in love.

I borrowed a copy from a friend for my six hour flight (layover included!) and actually managed to finish before hitting Chicago. Despite being almost 400 pages, the writing is pretty simplistic and easy to read, so the actual book shouldn’t take the average reader more than a day to finish. Unfortunately, the story is told from Katniss’ perspective. Now, I actually really liked Katniss—she’s a pretty interesting character—but first person narrative from a main female character gives me horrible flashbacks of Twilight, so that immediately put me off.

The real bummer of the first person narrative, though, is actually a backhanded compliment to the rest of the book. Collins’ universe and plot are so interesting that it was a shame we were limited to Katniss’ perspective. There was a lot of action that happened offscreen, and even the backstory gets dismissed because Katniss claims that she never cared for history. What happened to all of the other tributes during the Games? How exactly did America fall? I’ll never know, because Katniss Everdeen doesn’t care enough to tell me.

Katniss and Peeta actually aren’t as two-dimensional as all of the bread puns will have you believe, but that still doesn’t mean I want to listen to them for nearly 400 pages. Besides, had the “two of you can win” rule been announced earlier in the Games, Rue and Thresh totally would have won. Just saying.

Basically, Collins set up such an interesting universe, one that I’d rather have heard about what was going on in all of it, rather than just what one girl and boy experienced.

Every time one of the characters did something stupid, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would have done in their places. Assuming that Orinda is District 1 (which it totally is, don’t deny it), we would have all be been total dicks.

The Hunger Games is really only addicting because of the possibilities of it. It’s addicting because we think of what we would do in that situation. Just like Harry Potter was addicting because of what House we would be in and what adventures we would have, and The Lord of the Rings was addicting because of how hard we would have banged Aragorn (you were all thinking it).

What would you do, if you were forced into a situation where you were one of 24 kids fighting each other to the death?

Personally, I’d have been that kid that started eating people.