Open Letter to The Hunger Games

I heart you.

Age when I read a book that changed my life: 11

Age my son is now when he can’t stop reading the Hunger Games trilogy: 11

Ways good books can make your life better: 32,001

Dear Hunger Games trilogy and Ms. Suzanne Collins,

Thank you for dreaming up a book for kids about a reality show where people kill each other. While death and post-apocalyptic themes are not the first thing I would seek out for an 11-year-old, I am thankful for the extent to which my son has been submerged in your world.

I read the Hunger Games trilogy in 5.2 days this past December, and I loved all three books. I had also read the Gregor the Overlander series to my kids a few years ago… so good.

Quite frankly, I was getting concerned about my kids, who love to read. When I read Harry Potter #6 out loud to them, there were tears.

Mine.

“Kids? Kids? (sob sniff sob) Did you miss the part about Dumbledore? The tumbling over, and the splat, and the never coming back, and the tomb part? Kids?”

“Yeah, Mom, it’s sad.”

“But the death part? (wiping eyes, voice scratchy from poignancy)”

“Yeah. Sad.”

Both of my kids read books, and there have been several they’ve really, really liked. But this. This, Ms. Collins. Remember The Once and Future King?

Oh. Maybe you don’t. I got The Once and Future King the summer when I was 11, a few weeks before it all hit the fan. I mean, the death of my rabbit, my cat and my grandmother, all within a week? Everything was changing.

And I was ugly. Please don’t remind me about my cloud of hair. Or those painful braces. The one thing I had going for me was a Bain du Soleil tan from a summer spent in the sun, and even that was cursed, since my eyelids, tanned and weathered like an ’80s goddess, now sit atop my eyeballs in the manner of an 80-year-old.

But I had King Arthur. And England, and towers and knights and fate and good and evil. And I didn’t even think ol’ Lancelot was all that great. Guinevere made some bad choices. I can’t even hear “Fortress Around Your Heart” by Sting without being transported back to my bed, with the curtains blowing in with the breeze and the long summer days giving me extra reading time. As hungry as I was, King Arthur was way better than tuna casserole with potato chips on top.

And now Hunger Games. When I see tears on the edges of my son’s eyelashes as he reads about [bad thing expunged here], I know he is feeling the power of a great book.

Thank you, thank you, Ms. Collins, for all of your compelling writing about good and evil and Peeta (Arthur) and Gale (Lancelot) and scrappy female characters both boys and girls can relate to.

Yours in Panem,

Anne

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14 thoughts on “Open Letter to The Hunger Games

  1. Running in Mommyland says:

    Lovely! I’ve begun the second and think it’s just brilliant!

  2. crubin says:

    My 11 yo son is also enthralled with the books. He can barely contain his excitement for the upcoming movie. At first, I was disturbed at the subject matter, and okay, I still am, but it is hard not to share his enthusiasm 🙂

  3. babin101 says:

    I love the letter! So true! I love you!

  4. Holly says:

    Agh, cannot wait for the movie! 1 month! I’m so glad he is loving the books.

  5. Jennifer Butler Basile says:

    That first truly memorable reading experience does have a life of its own, doesn’t it? And it’s wondrous that you can now recognize it in your son – and bear witness to it. Here’s to the power of words and stories . . .

  6. Stephanie says:

    This post made me smile. He’ll remember these books when he’s a grown-up. I loved the first two, wasn’t crazy about the third. And I LOVED Gregor the Overlander. The books that I read at 11 – that burned their way into my psyche – were the Lioness Rampant books by Tamora Pierce.

    • annewoodman says:

      Hmmm. Yet another series I need to look into–I haven’t heard of those! Yes, wasn’t Gregor so fun? Thanks for stopping by!

      • Stephanie says:

        Oh, you really must! The first book in the quartet is Alana. It’s about a girl who doesn’t want to become a lady, so she disguises herself as a boy and trains to become a knight instead. Soooooo good!

  7. They’re next on my list! Glad to hear they are that good! Right now I’ve just opened Game of Thrones…the week before the convention of which I am co-director…bad decision as far as getting any sleep.

    • annewoodman says:

      Sleep? Who needs it? ; ) That’s funny, though. Game of Thrones is one of my next five books on the to-read list. So many good books, so little time! Let me know how you like it.

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