I happened upon the jacketless hardback copy of The Hunger Games at one of the bed & breakfasts we stayed at in PEI. It was on a small shelf of books that other guests had left, which you could take or add to. Such a great tradition. I had been meaning to read a few of this new generation of post-apocalyptic youth fiction since reading a survey article in the New Yorker about it. I guess the Hunger Games is one of the most popular series from this new wave and they are going to make a movie based on it, which is already getting some buzz.
This was a page turner and a really entertaining read that both me and my wife had a hell of a time putting down. The only false note was the inner thoughts of the protagonist concerning the various boys in her life. They seemed muddled and unrealistic and at times were slightly annoying intrusions on what was otherwise a tight and exciting ride.
I'm not going to bother with a synopsis, as I suspect we will all be hearing about it when the movie comes out and many of you may have already read the book. What struck me about it is how much it reminded me of John Christopher's young adult science fiction, in particular the Tripods series. Both books are about adolescents in an authoritarian society who are forced at a certain age to participate in a competition run by the society's masters. In Collins case, it is the Capitol. In Christopher's, the tripods themselves. In both cases, an exemplary adolescent, who is the protagonist, will end up being the key that will undo the tyranny that rules their world. I wonder how much Collins is aware of Christopher's work and if we will get any comparisons in the popular media.
These books are short, with big type, so I'll most likely read the rest of the series. It's possible, though, that with the amount of other reading I have head of me, I may just let someone tell me what happens. In any case, I approve of these kinds of books being popular and being made into movies. It suggests a renewed skepticism by the current generation, something the western world badly needs after the betrayal of my own generation X and the lameness that has since followed.