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The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is the latest hit in teen fiction and appeals to readers of all ages. I have to admit that I watched the movie before reading the book, which I rarely do. In fact, it was the movie that spurred me on to purchase the novel, because I wanted to find out more about Peeta’s motivation, and some other plot details that seemed elusive. My curiosity was satisfied, but I was actually glad I had watched the movie first, knowing that I would have enjoyed it much less if I could have pinpointed its moments of faithlessness to the book as I was watching. While the writing is not particularly sophisticated and the characters are not extensively developed, Collins presents a gripping plot that moves along quickly, satisfying the reader and preventing boredom with the writing. My first impression of the movie was that it was a combination of the literary classics Lord of the Flies and 1984 and the “reality” TV show Survivor. Then I watched the Olympics and thought maybe there were elements of ‘the games’ in the novel as well. What Collins suggests about the future of the human race is intriguing and terrifying, and following Orwell, she seems to be warning us of the potential extent of human cruelty. While not really fantasy, these novels have succeeded the Harry Potter series as the current literary fad, and challenge the reader to think about how we function as communities and to question our governance. I have to say, I’m a little obsessed in spite of myself. What did you think?

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