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Circle, Triangle, Square - The Hunger Games - no spoilers in post [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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The Hunger Games - no spoilers in post [Apr. 3rd, 2012|09:46 pm]
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My niece reads as voraciously as I do. Those of you who have been to my house know what that means. So for a couple of years, I bought her the Swallows and Amazons hardbacks - a couple for birthdays, a few for Christmas. Even when she was desperate to find out what happened next, and her Mum said that she could go and buy the books with her own money, she didn't want to. Those were the books that I bought her, and this was a thing between us.

So you can imagine when I bought the last one for her, I knew I had a hard act to follow.

Come last April, I looked around the books that I thought she'd like, and that would mean something to her. And I found the 'Hunger Games' trilogy - strong female protagonist, sci fi, exciting. Perfect. But one of the reviews made me pause - I hadn't read the books and my niece is young for her age. So I ordered them for me and read them first; if they were great and appropriate, I'd buy my niece her own set. If they were either rubbish or not appropriate, then I wouldn't.

Hmm.

The books are fantastic.

There's no way I want my 13 year old niece reading them. Not yet.

So you can imagine when I saw that a film was being made, I was slightly concerned. Even more so when I saw that it was going to get a 12A certificate.

I went to see it tonight.

It's everything that the books are; dark, melancholic, disturbing. It's a great film - it's a long time since a film has put my heart in my mouth for me and it happened several times tonight. The cuts they make to the book all make sense, and are few and far between.

It's a powerful story. And it's one I'll watch again. But not one that I'd suggest to my sister for my niece. Not just yet.

Even before I'd seen the film though, I'd heard ... not the soundtrack. I don't know if this is common but alongside the soundtrack album, there's this one - - The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond. As best I can tell, these are largely songs that fit the theme, or that have been written to complement the film - certainly the lyrics in many cases are too apposite to not reflect the story.

And it's just beautiful.

I've been listening to it on repeat pretty much for the last week or so, and there's one track in particular that I've played over and over - I might as well, because when I'm not, I still hear the chorus. Friends call this an earworm. When you have a track that you just can't get out of your head. There's a way out - you need an emergency backup track that's even more tenacious, to drive the earworm out.

But I don't want this one to go, not yet.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jul1et
2012-04-03 09:03 pm (UTC)

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I've just read the first two in quick succession - the third downloaded about half an hour ago. they are indeed...old for the audience they are aimed at, but I feel that about most teenage fiction. But bloody good none the less..
As long as she is able to talk sensibly though the issues that arise, is it a bad thing? At her age I was devouring mums Readers Digest Condensed books and reading many things allegedly wholly unsuitable for my age group, for me, many WW2 war stories, gore and all.
[User Picture]From: jfs
2012-04-03 09:10 pm (UTC)

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I know.

If I think what I was reading at her age, I'm almost certainly doing her an injustice. But I'm a bit paranoid, not having kids of my own.

And I hope you enjoy (if that's the right word) the third book. It's powerful stuff.
[User Picture]From: serpentstar
2012-04-05 03:12 pm (UTC)

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Kyle's lapped up 1.5 books and 1 film of Hunger Games so far, at 11. He doesn't mind gore & stuff though, as long as (weirdly) it doesn't involve cartoon characters. :)
[User Picture]From: jfs
2012-04-09 12:46 pm (UTC)

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As I said, I'm probably doing her an injustice.

Having said that, the PTSD that Katniss is continually suffering from in the 2nd and 3rd book is, to my mind, far more harrowing than the violence.
[User Picture]From: littleonionz
2012-04-11 11:48 pm (UTC)

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PTSD is harrowing, but it's kinda useful to have it described, to out that which is more often hidden. I'm on dangerous ground here I realise- where does one stop? Play it by ear I'd have t'say.. I let my girl watch the film, she is now devouring the novels. She sees children/adults being blown apart on the news everyday. Unfortunately, I can't sensor the world, and therefore, in this case, feel reluctant to sensor what she reads. But by exposing it's horrors real or potential, maybe writers and film-makers can, in some small way, influence future generations in a positive way? Dunno, it's a minefield full of worry bombs.
[User Picture]From: renniek
2012-04-03 09:04 pm (UTC)

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Can I recommend UnLunDun by China Mieville? Possibly it's too young, but you may want to give it a look (modern fantasy, strong female protagonist)
[User Picture]From: renniek
2012-04-03 09:05 pm (UTC)

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Diana Wynne Jones has a couple of good books aimed at teenagers too
[User Picture]From: jfs
2012-04-03 09:09 pm (UTC)

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On my list, as are many of the Diana Wynne Jones stories (and the rest of them when she's a bit older).

And thank you for taking the time to make suggestions.
From: (Anonymous)
2012-04-04 07:10 am (UTC)

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No problem :-) When I read UnLunDun (at the tender age of 33) I instantly thought "wow! I'd have *loved* this book when I was a kid". My niece is only 5 so it's going to be a while yet before I can start recommending much fantasy/SF for her (although she's already keen on The Worst Witch).
[User Picture]From: sarahlascelles
2012-04-04 07:12 am (UTC)

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I am frequently stunned by cinema age ratings, but I am rather ignorant on suitable content. I do recall Mum taking a friend and I to see Out of Africa, which was fine until a lead character died of syphilis. We were 11. Whoops.

I shall ask David if he has any ideas - he's a little more au fait with such things than me, and I know the issue of strong female characterisation is one he has pondered / discussed / ranted about in the past.
[User Picture]From: jfs
2012-04-04 07:32 am (UTC)

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Thank you - I'm always looking out for good books for my nieces and nephew.
[User Picture]From: sarahlascelles
2012-04-22 08:04 pm (UTC)

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It slipped my mind I'm afraid but I've now asked David, and he couldnt think of anything.

Having just read the Hunger Games (halfway through book 3) I can understand your reservations. There's some very tricky material in there for teenagers to deal with. Very tricky.
[User Picture]From: jfs
2012-04-22 08:33 pm (UTC)

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Yeah - the first book really is the easy one, isn't it?
[User Picture]From: sarahlascelles
2012-04-22 08:43 pm (UTC)

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I've found it quite absorbing, despite the plot holes, but some of the material would have given me nightmares at that age!
[User Picture]From: inbetween_girl
2012-04-04 11:12 am (UTC)

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My brother has been buying the Arthur Ransome books for my daughter, but she doesn't share your niece's restraint and gets them out of the library in between special occasions.

K is only ten so I suspect her taste may be a bit immature for recommendations, but your niece might enjoy the Wilma Tenderfoot books by Emma Kennedy, if she hasn't read them already.
[User Picture]From: jfs
2012-04-09 12:47 pm (UTC)

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Thanks - I'll look them out.
[User Picture]From: agentinfinity
2012-04-10 06:53 pm (UTC)

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When last I was working at an upper school, one of the English teachers I worked with was reading the Hunger Games to her class of 13 year olds. She thought it was brilliant and they seemed to be loving it. I've never got round to reading it myself.

I'm trying to think of books the teenage reading club I helped with were into. One that sticks in my mind is Philip Reeve's Here Lies Arthur - though I'm guessing you'll have come across that one by now; I have read that one and thought it was amazing. They also raved about Skullduggery Pleasant, which is teen noir with a skeleton detective. I dunno if that would be her cup of tea. They also loved the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness but personally I didn't rate it (then again, they were the target audience). It's worth looking at Carnegie Award nominees/winners as a lot of interesting stuff comes up for teens in that.

There's nothing better than sharing books with younger people. It is a total joy.
[User Picture]From: littleonionz
2012-04-11 11:51 pm (UTC)

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GC1 adores the Skullduggery P books. The Terrier, Bloodhound and Mastiff fantasy books by Tamora Pierce (fem protag) also rock. Both series contain violence.
[User Picture]From: caffeine_fairy
2012-04-10 08:55 pm (UTC)

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On the basis of this post I downloaded and read all three books in quick succession. I blame you for G & J having eaten roughly the same meal three times over this weekend and me having spent the last three days in tears...

Amazing books.

Have you tried her with Neil Gaiman?
[User Picture]From: jfs
2012-04-10 09:38 pm (UTC)

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Tell G and J I'm sorry :-)
[User Picture]From: caffeine_fairy
2012-04-10 09:59 pm (UTC)

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G says it was worth it. He loves me a lot :o)
[User Picture]From: jfs
2012-04-22 08:34 pm (UTC)

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By the way - just sent her the first two Sandman collections for her birthday - I'm going to be really interested to find out what she thinks.

(Though it was just after I'd sent them that I remembered what the first couple of storylines are about *gulp*).