Friday, May 4, 2012

Life Lessons Learned From Reading "The Hunger Games"

I should have paid attention during archery
lessons at Girl Scout camp.
*Spoiler Alert!!!  If you haven't read The Hunger Games books, still want to read them, and don't want to know anything about them first, then do NOT read this post!  Just don't do it!*

I have been hearing from everyone - everyone - that I should read The Hunger Games trilogy.  My husband, who has admittedly never read any of the books, compared it to The Running Man minus Arnold Schwartzenegger.

With very few exceptions, I'll read just about anything, so off I went.  I read them.

And I was disappointed.

I'll admit that the first in the series, The Hunger Games, was the best of the three.  However, from there, the other two books, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, seemed like The Hunger Games all over again.  In fact, Catching Fire was The Hunger Games all over again.

Now I don't mean to sound like a psychopath, because goodness knows I'm not (at least, I'm fairly confident that I'm not), but other than the problematic nature of kids killing kids, I'm not sure what the fuss was about in terms of the violence.  Sure, some of it was actually described in the books, but for the most part it seemed like you heard a scream and that was it.  I heard so many complaints, mainly from parents' groups that probably never bothered to actually read the book, about it's ultra-violent nature, but I really didn't get that impression at all.

Jurassic Park was far more graphic in that department.

Now, even I've gotta admit that they seem
awfully similar...minus Aaahh-nold...
By the end, I really wanted to metaphorically punch Katniss in the head.  I get that she's had a rough life.  She's been sent into a game show to fight for her life - twice - and her Dad died.  However, she also toys with the emotions of not one, but two men.  Honestly, I've never understood women who do that.  You know, pick one and be happy!  You've got one guy who could design a wedding cake that could make Duff Goldman jealous and another who can take down a buffalo with a trip-wire and a bow and arrow.

What more did you want, missy?

And not knowing that Gale was in love with you, Katniss?  Seriously?  I've said it before and I'll say it again, boys are almost NEVER best friends with a girl unless they are in love with them.  Brian has confirmed this phenomenon for me.

I also wanted to punch both Peeta and Gale in the head, too.  Stupid boys.  You know this woman is, for lack of a better word, emotionally damaged!  Why beat yourselves up over her?  From the way they describe Gale in the books, he clearly could get another woman.  Now, given that Peeta's skill is cake-decorating, he might have more trouble (though, if he can bake cakes that taste good, then we'll talk, but I could care less what they look like - I have an unnatural attachment to pastry).

That being said, I learn a little something from every book that I read, so here are 5 lessons that I "learned" from The Hunger Games:
  1. Playing with the emotions of boys gets you things.  Every time Katniss kisses Peeta in the arena, she gets food!  It's the ultimate ABA program!  Give a kiss, get a reinforcer.  No emotion needed really, just give the kiss and get the food.  Or medicine.  In reality, though, what girl doesn't already know this?
  2. Squirrel makes a fine meal.  So does opossum.  Or rat.  Or any other kind of game that would normally make me dry heave.  Apparently, you can make a stew out of anything.  I'll surely remember this if I ever decide to host a "Survivalist Gourmet" cooking show.  Just don't eat the berries.
  3. Stinging insects are BAD.  You'd think that I know this already.  Every sting I get earns me the negative reinforcer of a trip to the doctor or hospital to get a shot in the ass.  However, in the arena, the tracker jackers will make you dissolve if you get stung.  That's bad.  Avoid stinging inseects.
  4. You should pay more attention at Girl Scout Camp.  Archery clearly can get you out of some sticky situations.  I should have actually tried to learn this skill at camp!  Maybe one day I'll need to shoot down a nest of mutant yellow jackets with my trusty bow and arrow?  Well, I hope I never have this need, because I'll be screwed.
  5. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  We're reminded over and over again in The Hunger Games trilogy that the people who live in the Capitol look like characters from Rainbow Brite or Strawberry Shortcake.  However, they think that the people in the Districts, who look like, well, "normal" people, look horrid.  You say tomato, I say to-mah-to.
So, I'm sorry to disappoint everyone that spoke so highly of the series, but it wasn't for me.  I'll still have to watch the movie, obviously, because morbid curiosity is driving me to see how this all plays out on the big screen.

I also get the feeling that this is a slightly less fanatical version of the Twilight series.  And yet, I couldn't help but read those books and watch those movies, too.

What do you think?  Love The Hunger Games or not so much?


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