Hunger Gaming

Attention all Hunger Games lovers or haters out there. Head on over to Trevin’s Wax’s blog at the Gospel Coalition site to check out my ND Wilson’s review. It’s drawn some lively responses on the great World Wide Internet.

One big take away is found at the end of the review.

“One final thought: never read or watch a story like a passive recipient, enjoying something in a visceral way and then retroactively trying to project deeper value or meaning onto the story you’ve already ingested. Such projections have been making authors and directors seem more intelligent than they are for decades. As you watch, as you read, shoulder your way into the creator’s chair. Don’t take the final product for granted, analyze the creator’s choices and cheerfully push them in new and different directions. As we do this, the clarity of our criticism will grow immensely. Which is to say, we’ll be suckered far less often than we currently are.
Lastly, Suzanne Collins can really write. It’s just that we can’t really read.”

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10 thoughts on “Hunger Gaming

  1. I read his review, and thought he had a great point. I really enjoyed The Hunger Games (the first book), but there was a fishy taste in my mouth that developed into something I wanted to spit out by the time I got through book #3. He pinpoints the issue, which is nearly the same that his father said, that Collins doesn’t have a solid view on good vs. evil, and this definitely plays itself out by the end of the trilogy.

    Thankfully the first book ends before Collins can be entirely self-consistent in her philosophy (or lack thereof), which means it can still be fun. Also, it’s hard to find a decent heroine these days, and Katniss can hunt and and be brave without becoming a she-man, which is a rare occurrence in current literature.

  2. Wonderfully concise and insightful review! I particularly appreciate the exhortation to actively hone our analytical skills as readers, which is a practice that can be widely applied to our lives as we seek to grow in wisdom and discernment. As a writer, I am grateful for the deserved authors held up as examples and the reminder of what my focus should be and what is at stake.

  3. I actually just touched on this with my 9 year old daughter this morning, the idea that authors have something they want you to believe about the world. We discussed an example of what the adults in a book are like. Are they useless? Are they always getting in the way of fun? Are they loving and helpful? I told her that we need to be very careful about those basic assumptions that authors have about their worlds…

  4. I haven’t read Hunger Games, at first because I didn’t really want to bother with getting into another series but then later because I read Doug Wilson’s article about the books and then this article. Unfortunately, I know a lot of good christian friends that do read them and enjoy them. :(

  5. Ooooh, good compelling stuff. I fundamentally disagree with about half of it, but the half that I do agree with was all stuff I hadn’t thought of before, which is always a delight.

  6. I’m just kind of amazed that the commenters take it all so personally. I read the books, thought they were page-turners, but can’t really say I cared too much about any of the characters. Meh.

  7. Great review!! I read the first one so I could talk to my neighbor girls about it. I had a hard time getting into words my irritations with the book. Now I have more words. Thanks Nate!

  8. Loved the review, thanks Heather! And seriously, the commenters? (At least the 20 I got through.) People, fine, pretend his review is completely off…you really want to insist that liking a character who is just completely self absorbed and not aware of anything is super? I did read the whole series to be able to chat with girls about it, and yikes. Katniss is not exactly what I’m hoping my girls turn out to be like. And Nate couldn’t have hit Peeta more accurately.

  9. I just read Nate’s article with my two teenage daughters. He nailed it perfectly. We all just got through reading The Hunger Games, and we all three disliked it so much that we didn’t even get the sequels. Nate clarified several things that my daughters felt and have been trying to articulate in discussions with their friends, and helped us understand better why we felt so upset by the book. My younger daughter, in talking to a friend about the “mercy killing” by Katniss at the end, argued with a friend who saw nothing wrong in it, “But that’s where things like euthanasia and abortion come from.” Thank you, Nate.

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