As Chandra mentioned, over the next couple of weeks we will have a posts celebrating The Hunger Games movie coming to theatres on March 23rd. Next in our series is a post from blogger Mara Shapiro of PTPA (the Parent Teacher Parent Approved board.) She's written about reading The Hunger Games from a Mom’s perspective.
The Hunger Games: Food for Moms' Imaginations
What is the attraction for grown ups to read Young Adult fiction? There are plenty of adult books for us to read after all, right?
I know it’s not just me because my entire neighborhood of Desperate Housewives read The Twilight Saga cover-to-cover. Plus, my friends and I have regular dates for the movies, waiting with bated breath for the next instalment, lining up with all the 13-year-olds, and participating actively in Team Edward/Team Jacob debates on Facebook.
What I’m trying to decode is the phenomenon called The Hunger Games.
About a year and a half ago, I heard about a midnight book launch that Chapters/Indigo was hosting across Canada. It was for Mockingjay, the third book in a little trilogy called The Hunger Games.
My son, then 11-years-old, was (and is) a real bookworm. I thought staying up until midnight, hanging out at a bookstore and being one of the first to get the book would be a pretty cool experience for him. He said that he liked the books, so we went. I was amazed at all the tweens and teens dressed in their costumes, excitedly talking about the series.
I had no idea. I thought they were books for just kids. Boy, was I wrong.
Fast forward to last December. I had been hearing constant chatter about these novels. All of the moms I knew were reading the series. Everywhere I went, be it Twitter, Facebook, or the grocery store, the big question was: “Have you read The Hunger Games?” And my answer? “Nope. They’re kids books. And I don’t like that genre, anyways.”
I’m not really a fan of science fiction. I don’t read mystery or action novels. But, I should have known that I’d like The Hunger Games. After all, I wasn’t jazzed about the idea of The Passage or Twilight, for that matter, and I devoured them both.
Caving into peer pressure (and worried that I was missing the next big thing) I picked up the first book on a Sunday. And I finished it on Monday. I hungrily (no pun intended) started Catching Fire immediately. It was a good thing I was reading them during Winter Break. I finished Catching Fire on Tuesday. Mockingjay followed immediately. My family had gotten the picture that they were to leave me alone. I was busy. I needed to know what was happening. I finished the entire series in four days.
These books mesmerized me. The action and characters seized hold of my imagination and wouldn’t let it go. The love triangle was just enough to engage my heart, the terror to freeze it.
There was no adult content (swearing, drugs, or smoking.) There was violence. A lot of it. This chilling trilogy of a dystopian future, caused by human abuse of science, power, and the planet, totally engaged me. At no point did I feel like I was reading a children’s book. I was truly impressed at the quality of writing, the weaving of the story, and the originality.
Now, I understood.
So, back to the question I started with. Why are we grown-ups so drawn to Young Adult Fiction?
This is my theory: These books are full of innocence, of the beauty of life. There’s a concentration on character, on engaging the imagination, on focusing on what’s wrong in our world and how to fix it.. They are original. They touch the joy in all of us. They make us feel as if there’s hope, of future, of more time.
They make us feel young again.
I can’t wait for The Hunger Games movies to come out, and to see if my imagined Panem, District 12, the Arena, and Capitol are all as I saw them to be. And I’ll decide, once I see the action in Technicolor, whether I’m still Team Peeta, or whether I should totally switch to Team Gale.