Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games Trilogy
Length: 374 pages
Genre: Young Adult / Sci-Fi / Action-Adventure / Dystopia
HERE THERE BE SPOILERS. YE HAVE BEEN WARNED.
So, I was one of those people who lived under a rock for years and didn’t read this book when it first came out. *GASP!* Shocking, I know. I’m actually weird like this, but I’m really good at avoiding spoilers and staying away from hyped-up-things until I’m good and ready to wade in and get my feet wet. So, it was with reluctance that I finally broke down and watched The Hunger Games movie on Netflix a few months back–just to see what all the fuss was about, of course. I’ve got to say…I was pretty wowed by the story. I really loved the setting and the music. I found myself wanting to know more about Panem and the society in which Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark were having to fight twenty-two other kids to the death.
So, armed with a very high opinion of the movie, I started reading the book about two weeks ago. As is pretty typical, I greatly enjoyed the book–even more so than the film. Since I saw the movie first, I couldn’t help but walk in with certain expectations and imagery in my head. I’m pleased to say that I was quickly able to separate film and book pretty soon after starting, though. First off, the book has far greater detail about the world, the characters, and what’s going on in Katniss’s head. I found myself strangely drawn to this cold, calculating, and emotionally cranky person. I liked that the POV was first-person, present tense. It made the pace of the story feel lightning fast. It also gave a much more personal insight into the action of the plot and the complex relationship between characters.
I was struck by the differences in Katniss the book character and Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal in the movie. Lawrence’s Katniss seemed cold and aloof (just like the book character), but there was a mature tenderness there that seemed starkly different from the borderline bratty, brash, and belligerent book heroine. Katniss of the book seemed much angrier (to me) about all that was occurring in the country–much more “The Girl On Fire”. I think this could partly be due to the fact that readers have a front row seat into Katniss’s emotions whereas in the movie, we have to watch from the outside and interpret an actor’s performance. I like both Katnisses, just for the record.
The book also made me greatly appreciate Peeta in a way that the movie did not. Whereas in the film, I had to warm up to Peeta, in the books I fell in love with him immediately. I was able to better understand his place in Katniss’s heart and to see his motivations than in the movie. As well, the actor who played Peeta was somewhat annoying to me until the end-ish of the film.
One thing I will say, though, is this: the film did not (in my opinion) do a good job of the star-crossed lovers story arch. The book made it completely clear that Katniss was playing into this “act” and that she thought Peeta was as well. The movie, to me, made all of that seem very fuzzy and it didn’t carry the full weight of the book’s precision here. My husband even brought up that the movie ending (SPOILERS SORRY!) didn’t seem very believable when they were vowing to eat the berries together. This was extremely well portrayed in the book.
I loved it. I cannot wait to start Catching Fire sometime today! I love the fierce devotion that I see in Katniss for her family and her people. I also love the emotional vulnerability that Collins created in her. I cannot wait to see where Katniss and Peeta are swept off to in the sequels!
What did you think of the book? The film? Did you like one better than the other?