I enjoyed reading the Hunger Games series. I thought it was well done as a tragic adventure story for young readers, and for more mature readers, Suzanne Collins does a deft job of selling her take on the future and its celebrity culture, reality TV, political manipulation and the constant struggle of an elite class to accumulate as much power as they can.
I’m also pleased because it’s a book my daughter can read that gives her someone to look up to and identify with in a positive manner. Katniss Everdeen is brave, loyal, smart, self-reliant and inventive. She’s also a disaster at personal relationships and is tone deaf to the politics of any situation. In other words, she’s human. She’s also a terrific, tortured main character. For a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan like me, I know these sorts of heroines are rare and am left wishing each of the three books in the Hunger series was about 200 pages longer. And though her love relationships tend to be complicated, Katniss isn’t stuck making a choice between two boys who aren’t good for her. On the contrary, both are solid citizens and love her completely, which helps make the choice even more difficult.
The type of character that seems all too common – and I hope my daughter will avoid showering her affection upon – is exemplified by Bella Swan. She gives up all of herself for someone who is cold, distant and bloodsucking. Her other choice is a shape-changer that, on a bad day, would eat her alive and pick his teeth with her bones. Bella sacrifices her life, although she’s reborn as a vampire, for Edward. Her adoration is blind and stupid. Her actions are foolish and usually with little thought for anyone but her and her undead lover. Her life is Edward’s, not her own, and by her choice. It’s not how I want my little girl to think about her relationships with boys, and I’m not sure why everyone seems to think it’s so romantic in the Twilight series. On the contrary, it’s pathetic.
Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stick with Katniss, and encourage my daughter to do the same.