Friday, April 06, 2012

Book Reviewlet: Hunger Games Book I

This book is pure catnip for the "young adult reader" and I ate up every word of it.

The main character Katniss Everdeen is a kicka-- but vulnerable tomboy, who beats people up in a gladitorial death match, but also gets her Oprah style pretty-ugly girl makeover, her dramatic prom-like scene, her high school rom-com love triangle, her turn as reality tv star, and on top of all that, she gets to be all political because she's representing the 99%.

The premise, of an authoritarian government forcing children to fight to the death to assert their authority really is a knock off of the Japanese film Battle Royale, though I suppose the trope dates back to Rome's bread and circus gladitorial games (which I just realized while googling the attribution of bread and circus, that the Roman allusion is reinforced in the name of the ficitonal country Hunger Games takes place in, Panem), just updated with pneumatic teenage protagonists and reality tv. Thus you could argue the movie owes as much to Gladiator as Battle Royale.

The books have been lauded for the social commentary, which to be honest, felt mostly in the background in book 1, but seem to come more to the forefront in the sequels, which I am still working through with much anticipation.

Grade: A


James Lin said...

What's a "pneumatic teenage protagonist"? Are you calling them airheads?

Ben Ho said...

From the merriam-webster dictionary, when applied to people, pneumatic means "having a well-proportioned feminine figure." I don't think I've ever used that word since learning its definition in like 8th grade vocabulary class, but somehow seemed appropriate.