As I carried around a copy of The Hunger Games last week, no less than 15 people stopped me to say something along the lines of “Don’t you love it? Cancel your day because you are going to HAVE to finish it and order the other 2 by nightfall.” People at the gym, people on the train, neighbors, strangers, and even an oddly erudite homeless man engaged me about the book. People who can’t even spell their names read this book in 24 hours. I took a staggering 8 days to read it; George W. Bush read this faster than I did. What is wrong with me?
With all due respect to Ms. Collins who does not (and should not) give an Avox’s ass what I think about her book, I just hated it. And I really wanted to love it. Having missed the whole vampire craze and the entire series Lost and currently poised to miss the Twitter boat any day now, I wanted to join the Katniss fever and adore this book. I wanted to be that person who wore a costume when I went to see the movie– after standing in line all night long to get a front-row seat. Believe me when I say I was willing to be in love with or at the very least thoroughly enjoy this story.
As I read, my neck hurt, and I had a funny taste in my mouth– metallic and citrus mixed in an unsavory combination. I don’t like being that tense and that upset. The worst combination for me is kids + violence, which is why I don’t know if I will be cut out for cafeteria duty when the time comes. I thought I was prepared for the violence and suspense, but like childbirth or a visit to Etsy.com, you just don’t know how you will handle it until you get there yourself.
I almost called it quits when Rue expired, but I have a book quota for the year and I was losing time on this one (and THIS book was supposed to be a quickie!). I kept going. I just wanted it to end. My distaste doesn’t make sense: I like to escape; I like dark stories (see Swamplandia or Glass Castle); I like stories with strong female leads. I should have loved this book. I feel so robbed.
And lonely. Billions of people love this book. People I respect on every level (political, literary, intellectual, moral) enjoyed this book and took it for what it is– a compelling story with an original, dystopian storyline. I am a little despondent that just like those yellow Livestrong rubber bracelets (benefiting Lance Armstrong’s foundation) I never got around to buying, I have missed a trend. Maybe I am too old, too soft or too neurotic for science fiction, which I can begrudgingly accept.
My only question is: Am I alone here?