The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

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You’ve probably heard of this book. There’s no point in me laying out the premise for you.

It was well written. Suzanne Collins gets the story structure right, expertly using cliff-hangers at the end of chapters and writing credible dialogue. I remember reading on Cracked that she worked on Clarissa Explains It All, so there’s an interesting fact for you.

The reason I cannot get enthusiastic about this book is the characterisation of the protagonist. Katniss is too pessimist and self-depreciating to be an engaging narrator. I get that she lives in a terrible place, but I get the impression that she’d be acting this way even if she lived in a palace. Being with her for an entire book was draining. If I were editing this book, I’d suggest letting Peeta narrate every second chapter, or telling the whole thing in third person.

The constant flashbacks were another drawback. They had little relevance to the plot beside propping up a romance with some hunter dude called Gale.

I give this book 2.5 out of 5 indifferent districts.

 

This book brought to mind an observation from one of Primo Levi’s holocaust memoirs, which argued that a person cannot be one hundred percent happy or one hundred percent miserable all the time. He thought that even in the worst situations, your mood would fluctuate. Katniss always seemed miserable no matter what actually happened to her. She’d be depressed even if she lived in the best place possible. So Katniss’s unrelatable characterisation is what made it difficult for me to connect to the book.

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