Been kinda quiet here this week, huh?
That’s because we’ve been slaves to our books. If you could peek into our windows you’d probably come away thinking we were the laziest bunch of good for nothings this side of the Mississippi. Well, all accept for Papa. He’s busy filming documentaries about bees and top secret military robots. But the rest of us have been shamelessly lazy and lost in the pages of our books.
Even the dog.
We do hereby declare it the Summer of the Flashlight Tale and we have made it our mission to seek and find all the very best, can’t put it down, stay up late and read until your eyes forcibly shut themselves of their own accord, books.
Over the weekend my sweet sister in law, Leah, told me that I had to read these books. Now, given their premise I never, EVER, would have picked them up if anyone else had said to, but I trust her opinion implicitly. I’m hoping that you’ll afford me the same trust. I know, they really do sound… well… odd, to say the very least. They are so far outside of my normal book fare.
Basically they are about a government, some time in the future, who keeps its thumb on its citizens by holding a blood chilling annual reality show. Two children (12-18 years old), a boy and a girl, are chosen from each of the 12 districts. Then they are forced to play in this sort of Survivor-like game. Only you don’t get voted off, you get killed.
I will tell you this : the story is insanely compelling. I got the first book, The Hunger Games, on Sunday evening. I started reading and could. not. stop. I kept promising myself that I’d read, “just one more chapter.” Then I looked up and can you guess what time it was? 3:30.
And I still kept reading for another half hour!
I told my sister in law, and do you know what that crazy lady did? She brought me a frozen coffee concoction and the second book, Catching Fire.
I love her. I really really do. She makes killer desserts too, but that’s another story.
I tried to control myself. I tried to put off reading Catching Fire until the kids had gone to bed, but I only lasted about an hour. Just like before, I just couldn’t put it down. She brought it yesterday afternoon and I’ve already finished it. Now I’m just biding my time, chewing my fingernails and waiting anxiously for August, when book three comes out.
You have to read them. You just do.
A couple of things:
These books are meant for about age 12 and up. So, even given the basic plot, it’s not really as gory as you might imagine. One reviewer described it so well saying, “…rather than being repellent, the violence is strangely hypnotic. It’s fairy-tale violence, Brothers Grimm violence–not a cheap thrill but a symbol of something deeper”
That’s kind of what makes this tale so interesting. No one wants to kill exactly. They just want to stay alive. Its an impossible situation which is probably why it sucks you in. You just keep wondering how, how on earth can this be resolved?
It’s also, in some ways, a love story, but it’s not at all the normal gooey, shallow teen love affair. It’s all very chaste and more about the implications of love than act of it.
It’s set in the future but it’s not futuristic in a Star Wars sense. While I guess technically it is “Sci Fi,” the label seems too limiting.
So, grab the books and your flashlight. Turn your ringer off and block out a couple of days. You’ll thank me. I know it.