I just devoured this trilogy, and hungry for more I just started The Girl Who Was on Fire, a collection of essays about these books by other authors. I'm not a gusher (me da igual and it's neither here nor there are phases I use often to express my indifference) but I was captivated by these books. I want to explore why before I read beyond the first essay in The Girl Who Was on Fire. I want to be firm in what I think before I am influenced by accomplished authors. I'll try to not include any spoilers in case you want to read the books too.
I picked up the first book, The Hunger Games, because the movie is coming out in March 2012 and I got the feeling that these books are going to be the next big thing. Think Harry Potter and Twilight. I will often choose books to read so that I can be aware of what everybody is talking about. There is almost no buzz about these books on Facebook so I thought perhaps I can be ahead of the curve on this one. Kenny made fun of me a little bit, saying he didn't know I was such a fantasy nerd.
However, while Harry Potter and Twilight couldn't possibly happen because magic and vampires don't exist, the possibility of evolving into the society portrayed in The Hunger Games is very possible. The way we treat each other with our hate and our wars (and our indifference!) and the way we ignore our environment could take us there. This realness and possibility and the resulting soul-searching provided more than just entertainment value.
But the books were entertaining. I couldn't wait to find out what happened. One of the reasons the books had such pull was they touched very effectively on human needs. Collins takes us right up Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid. An essay could be written on how Collins used each level and what that means for our society right now. Because every need is addressed, readers can find something that they strongly relate to. That personal feeling created the draw that made me stay up too late, shirk responsibilities, and read in the kitchen while cooking dinner. The books hit me in the middle of the pyramid. The characters were pushed very quickly into recognizing their skills. They had to discover what skill they had that would help them get noticed and survive. Esteem needs. I was just thinking yesterday that maybe it's not so nice being the jack of all trades and master of none. I sure would like to be known for something.
So, yes. The books were entertaining. It doesn't hurt that there's a love triangle and I was dying to know how it would be resolved. But there's something about these books that keeps me thinking. Perhaps it's the realness of the themes. Hunger, danger, family and friends, loyalty, alcohol and drugs, war and PTSD, guilt, personal accomplishment, right and wrong, indifference, love, environment, choices, politics and propaganda, reality TV, celebrity worship, opportunities, gumption, courage, selflessness. The list goes on and on. So many things to think about.
These books can inspire personal change if you let them. I am going to see if I can isolate one skill that I have and put it to work. I'm also going to work on taking a stand on things rather than being indifferent. Indifferent people are dangerous. If they are too comfortable they can let bad things go on all around them. It's time to speak up.