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Yes, I Really Do Hate 'The Hunger Games'

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The Hunger Games crashed through the New York Times Bestseller list like a hungry lion in a meat shop. The numbers were astounding; approval ratings crashed through the sky. But behind all of the popular applause, there are a fair amount of faults that I can find in Collins’ trendy novel ‘The Hunger Games’.

But why, exactly, is this novel so well-liked?

To begin with, it’s an easy read. Embarrassingly easy. Most kids I know that read this book consisted of 13-17 year olds. They bragged that they read ‘The Hunger Games’ in one day. But I see no great accomplishment in this feat, because the book was written for, by my standards, 10-12 year olds, and so people probably should have finished it in a couple of hours. No surprise there; there’s nothing to brag about when you finish a kids’ book. But do you hear people saying how great ‘The Three Musketeers’ or ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is? Nope. That’s because the books are really huge, and nobody bothers to read them. Popularity starts with an easy read.

Secondly, the gladiatorial draw is intoxicating. It takes the reader on emotional ups and downs and might make a more tender person cry (like when Rue died). Admit it; the book was grotesquely, horrifically amusing because the main character constantly in a life-or-death situation that was (supposed to be) intense. Blood, forced murder, innocent children dying, the works.

Let’s move on to the actual writing job. There are many things I find distasteful about ‘The Hunger Games.’ Primarily, I find Collins’ lack of description remarkable. The book reads more like an emotionless screenplay rather than a good novel. The only reason people feel sad or happy or triumphant is not because Suzanne actually describes the characters’ feelings; it’s because the gladiatorial plot has a built-in intense system that makes the reader ready to cry or laugh or gasp with horror. Take away the horrific plotline, and you would feel as much emotion as a brick wall. But Collins’ lack of description extends further, to places, people, setup, and scenery. She describes place settings like a children’s book: short sentences without analogies, parallels, good use of words, etc. Just ‘the wall was blue.’, not ‘the long wall was sickly forget-me-not blue that made me want to puke.’. A good writer needs to know how to describe, not just tell.

Somewhat related to the writing, I find the plot unrealistic. Yes, a hero or heroine generally faces incredible odds, but a good author should know where to draw the line between ‘heroism/luck/good fortune’ and ‘completely unrealistic’. For example, Katniss is a malnourished, starving, and thus weak girl (and by nature, girls are physically weaker than guys anyway). Do you really think a person like that would stand a chance against older, buffer guys that had been training their entire lives for the Hunger Games? Do you honestly think she could have survived? The ‘careers’ were prepared for the Hunger Games, she was not. For instance, when Katniss is in a tree and the girl tries to shoot an arrow at her: the girl was a career. Don’t you think they would have taught her how to use every possible weapon if they wanted her to win? And yet she was poorly trained: hmm, Katniss has some pretty extreme luck there. When the boy tries to climb the tree, he gives up after one try. They wanted to murder her. Do you think they would give up after one try? At least have thrown knives at her, or chucked rocks at her, or something. Even if one girl couldn’t shoot an arrow, you would think that out of that many careers, at least one would be able to handle a bow!

Minor note here: when Katniss’s urine is brown, she should be dead or passed out. Scientific fact: you cannot be conscious and be that dehydrated. It’s impossible for your body. Collins might have wanted to do a little medical research if she was going to have her characters heroically wounded/incapacitated in some way.

Lastly, I find it slightly sexist. A weak girl bypasses logic, rationality, a few basic laws of physics, and has some completely unrealistic doses of huge luck that make her survive until the end. And what does Peeta do? He gets wounded and hides in the mud like a wimpy dude. Of course, Katniss, being the strong brave invincible girl she is, had to go save the poor guy. You’d think she had Achilles’ curse or something; the ways she survives are ridiculous. If an author has a heroine, especially a girl, they’ve got to learn not take it so far as to seem fantastically outlandish.

To sum, I loathe ‘The Hunger Games’ because of the dumb reasons people like it, it’s unrealistic, and sexist. Glad you bothered reading this much of my opinion.

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ScarletCityThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 3, 2015 at 11:12 am
@MadMouse How can you say that this book is written for ten year olds? You say that this book involves murdering children, which it does, and I believe that this fact should make a book for a more mature audience. I wasn't allowed to read it until 6th grade, and that was because we read it in English class. I disagree with your claim that the plot was unrealistic because Katniss won and not one of the Careers.Don't you think that if you had been training your whole life, you would be overconfide... (more »)
ellwistThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Oct. 25, 2015 at 5:38 am
I agree with most of what you've pointed out, except the last part. Sure, STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN is becoming a cliche very quickly, but Peeta's weakness was slightly refreshing. Hey, at least somebody's acknowledging men can be weak. And it's not like all of the male characters are like that--Haymitch, Gale, literally all the other male competitors. But seriously. STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMEN really needs to stop happening and be replaced with STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMEN WITH ACTUAL PERSONALITY. Goo... (more »)
LittleRedDeliriousPrinceThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Oct. 23, 2015 at 8:57 am
I enjoy the Cask of Amontillado. It's a good story, but I feel it is not so appreciated. Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorite authors.
girl online 505 said...
Mar. 29, 2015 at 8:07 pm
i completely disagree with you each of your points is not insightful, i say this as respectfully as possible and dont mean to offend you or anyone else. you clearly dont understand the points the author was trying to make. here are my reasons before you just say im ranting on nothing. 1.i find this book fairly easy but l will never judge books based on there covers or in this case,thickness as long as it has a good plot ill read it.if i was 9 and divergent had just came out i would read it becau... (more »)
Wren said...
Mar. 13, 2015 at 8:58 pm
I agree with everything you wrote. The Hunger Games really is badly written, or written for small children, and it speaks of a person's experience with literature to say whether they consider it special. I thought the first book was reasonably entertaining for what it was, but the political and social commentary in it was weak; as you say, it was written for the 10-12 crowd who have not read 1984, Brave New World or A Clockwork Orange. Those were the books that I was reading at 15 so to hear gro... (more »)
ScarletCityThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Nov. 3, 2015 at 11:27 am
The way I see it, there are three kinds of people in the world... The ones who appreciate modern day literature, those who appreciate 'Classic' literature, and English teachers (meaning: It doesn't matter what they appreciate, they are forced to teach both types to both people)
nunyabizz said...
Mar. 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm
Funny how you criticize the writing, yet your article repeats the phrase "crashed through" twice within the first two sentences. That's pretty bad, especially for the opening paragraph. "The Hunger Games crashed through the New York Times Bestseller list like a hungry lion in a meat shop. The numbers were astounding; approval ratings crashed through the sky."
ShipraB said...
Jan. 24, 2015 at 5:21 pm
You have some truly interesting points that have made me question why I religiously go to these movies!
Yolie101 said...
Nov. 2, 2014 at 8:24 am
Okay, so apparently the greatest sin of Suzanne Collins in the writing of the Hunger Games is for the fact that she used simple vocabulary. Well, let's get this straight adults are busy working and all and seldom get time to read but teens and tweens have more time to dwell on books- but not (boring) classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and all. We actually desire easy reads with captivating themes and plots. Apparently, Collins was wise enough to consider the psychology of her d... (more »)
SuzieQ777 said...
Oct. 22, 2014 at 11:20 am
I disagree with you, The Hunger Games is a book for anyone of any age group to read. Though, I feel it should appeal more to teenagers and adults. It's a book on the possibilities of how our political or our government world could change through the eyes of a teenage girl who is head strong. Personally. I don't see too many 10-12 year olds reading about Politics. So if Collins writes in "lack of description" perhaps that's how the main character describes or sees things thr... (more »)
cami_cook314 said...
Sept. 30, 2014 at 10:39 am
I agree with some of the things you said but some of them not so much. I do not think that it is sexist because Suzanne Collins is trying to make girls think that they can be strong and have confidence in themselves
PenOnParchment said...
Jul. 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm
I'm glad someone else saw this book like this! The Hunger Games was written in the style of a book for 10 year olds with the themes of a teen  fiction and nearly no substance at all
NowYouSayThat said...
Jun. 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm
I read this and I'm 11- some of my friends were 8 when they read this. It took me 1 hour because of the stupid-arsed bits about her dress and sobbing on about Rue(who, although I go to a boys' school, so I wouldn't know) seems unrealistic (apparently she's 66 lbs, wtf?) and who seems ridiculously immature.
IAmUncreative said...
May 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm
I must say, even as a 12 years old, I must agree with you. I thought it would be something like that Harry Potter series, but no. I especially despise the writing style, as I am a visual thinker, and the book does not provide me with enough detail to imagine the place. Also, Panem, the setting doesn't make sense. District 12- Coal? Why do you need coal for? You have holographic stuuf and a clock arena, isn't it time to move away from the old stuff like coal?
.... replied...
Sept. 27, 2014 at 7:48 pm
they don't need the coal much. That's why the district is poor
Hyrrokkin said...
Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:55 pm
I have to agree with you on a lot of things. Too many books and movies get away with major plot holes on the premises of "luck" and it gets really irritating. I also appreciate your point on Katniss' dehydration, as a story is infinitely much more impressive when it is factually correct. Your point on the description is difficult though- good description is critical, but you don’t want terrible, overly-detailed accounts abundant in, say, Stephenie Meyer’s works. Sometim... (more »)
Rose_13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 3, 2014 at 1:11 pm
It's not a book written for 10-12 year olds because there's a lot of murder in it. It's a game where people try and kill eachother off for Pete's sakes. Yeah, it didn't have the best vocabulary, but it was extremely creative and emotional.
BeaudrySylvie said...
Dec. 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm
I was so turned off by the writing style. On top of that, usually half the second and third book consisted of Katniss hidding. I could understand the mental health problem associated, but it was just 'missing'. It lacked. It was not satisfying.

The only thing I loved so much was the idea. It would have been fantastic as an adult book with the chance of so many themes developped tenfold. My main probelms was the writing and the incomplete ideas of the book. The lack of re... (more »)
ZoeFanlol said...
Oct. 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm
Thank the Gods that someone actuallty agrees with me. To all the people who likes the Hunger games are cruel,they don't understand that she actually got this from watching tv. Even though your an author that is lik 51 years old or something you should be able to be more respective to the people who are dying in the Middle east. Sometimes the rain doesn't allways shine,but when it does it come back to kick you in the face.
peskylisa replied...
Dec. 17, 2013 at 9:24 am
God bless you for writing this and seeing this novel for exactly what it is: hyped up drivel, written for 10 year olds, by someone on a 12 year old level, bereft of description and any thought or emotion at all. Thank you for telling your truth out loud and, examining the reasons we, as people, are so myopic, visceral, and childishly "in the moment" as to judge a book by its size and overhyped promotion.  You made a good deal of valid, and observant points there, some of them, I s... (more »)
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