Monday, May 14, 2012

Mundane Mundays: Hungry Hungry Hippos...'Hungry' Games Anyone?

Thoughts about the Hunger Games...

The older I get the more I look around me and see the world I live in, that it is increasingly more desensitized to the daily ‘goings on’. I make no secret of the fact that I'm a Christian and that it alarms me this world's leaning towards sin and debauchery and that they don't care (or at least they don't seem to) that they are headed to hell in a hand basket. Far from claiming perfection, I know that temptation is alluring and so the temptation to not care is even more enticing.

I've been asked, pointed at and looked at with horror by some, that I have read and liked the Hunger Games trilogy. However, those who know me know I make no secret of what I read. If I started reading everything from an analytic perspective, rather than for entertainment I would not be the bibliophile I am. Reading takes discernment and a levelheadedness that means what I'm reading is FICTION. I have never been a reader that examines the text for its true meaning or to understand how it makes me feel. No, I run screaming from those types.

That being said I wanted to write my thoughts about the Hunger Games for all the haters out there, I see your horrified faces. “They sacrifice children!”

I tried to find the date (as I keep track of all the books/dates finished, etc. I read) I first read The Hunger Games, but couldn’t pinpoint it exactly. Suzanne Collins was not unknown to me and long before I had money of my own or book buying mad skills, I relied on my mum to order her books when they came out. I have been reading her books since Elementary/Middle School. Gregor the Overlander rocks! I can’t even remember my initial reaction to the book. Only that my typical behavior for authors I enjoy is to devour everything they have written and to constantly check online sources for whispers or rumors of MORE!

The question I am asked most often about the books is, “Maddie, did you like the books? Did you like reading them?” Well folks if I didn’t like them, it is unlikely I would rush to own them one after another, see the midnight showing, buy an awesome Hunger Games t-shirt from TeeFury, contemplate a Hunger Games themed quilt and name my first born child after the heroine. Okay so the last one is an exaggeration, but yes seriously I did/do like the books. I think the question is asked of me because no one, at least these folks, can imagine honestly admitting to finding enjoyment and entertainment in a book where the main plot focuses on children killing each other. Lest we forget CHILDREN of this world, yes the one we live in right now, plop themselves down in front of glowing screens for hours on end, aim a controller and blast humans with ‘imaginary’ guns. The only benefit being a high score and the satisfaction that your kills far outnumber those of your friends. But no let’s be worried about a book that demonstrates the lengths someone will go to protect those they love by sacrificing themselves.

At the risk of convoluting the point I’m trying to make with this post, I will try to finish up with a few bullet points.

-    I have said it several times in the last few weeks; you can NEVER know how you would react in a similar situation. You can say “Oh I would never kill someone to save myself.” I give this example, though; if a gun was pointed at my head and the shooter asked me, “Are you a Christian?” and expected an answer where yes meant death and  a no meant life. . . I would love to tell you I would have the strength to say yes, but I can’t know. You can’t know, unless you’re psychic and let’s face it that’s fantasy not dystopian.

-    If you have to ask me are the books too violent for Suzie Joe, chances are yes. Better to be safe than sorry. The books and the movie are not for everyone and I’m not going to tell you otherwise. My siblings and I for a long time ‘protected’ our mum from the books because we know she doesn’t always handle violence well. However, now she and I are reading them aloud together.

-    Will I allow my children to read the books? I don’t believe in censorship, it is a taste I can’t bring myself to try no matter how ‘bad’ the book is. I read every book with this question in my head and must examine the book for everything it brings to light. The good, the bad, and the questions I will have to answer, especially the awkward questions and the lessons to be learned by reading the books. If after finishing a book I can’t imagine my children reading the book then I will not allow it to be on my shelf. They will need to decide at a certain point, once I’ve taught them everything I can, what is right to fill their minds with and what is not. My parents have done the same and I can’t expect anything less of my own someday. But yes if I know my children, like I hope to know them, I will be able to see that they can handle the books and they will be allowed to read the Hunger Games series

-    Don’t judge, but yet I do. If I look at you based on conversations we have had or just a sense I get from some, that you are not the type to ‘enjoy’ the Hunger Games than chances are I will not recommend the books. Customers frequently walk into the shop, ask for recommendations and on the spot I have to put my ‘powers’ to work accessing whether this person is too conservative for the content, etc. I must, for my own peace of mind, maintain a clear conscious. It is the same for Harry Potter series, I never (even with people I know) thrust the books at them and say YOU MUST READ THESE and simply because I don’t need any more drama in my life.

I don’t need the people on the other side of the fence (the ones saying how evil the Hunger Games are) thinking I’m becoming complacent and desensitized, so let me point this out again if you haven’t caught on yet. I read for PLEASURE. The only time I read to expand my mind, opinions, etc. is when reading non-fiction or a work of fiction that I set out to read knowing it will teach me something. Aside from the basic, good is good, bad is bad, loyalty, friendship, family; Hunger Games is not an analytical thesis on our world today. Thank goodness because for as much as this world saddens me, I don’t need/want to live in a world like Panem.

(Coincidence? I started writing this post a few weeks ago and as life is busy, put it aside for later. The title about the board game Hungry Hungry Hippos just came to me because I played it all the time with my pup-pup (grandpa) when I was a kid. Today when looking for a Hungry Hungry Hippos graphic to go with the post I found someone else had the same idea about equating it with the Hunger Games. Great minds....)

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