What Age Should Read “The Hunger Games”? And my thoughts on book #3: “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins

If you read me regularly, you know I’ve recently read The Hunger Games trilogy because: 1) I was possibly the only blogger who hadn’t, and 2) countless friends who hadn’t read it were asking me if they should let their children read it. With the movie opening last weekend, this series is EVERYWHERE right now. Full Disclosure: I haven’t seen the movie yet due to my odd personal need to avoid crowded movie theaters. I like to wait until the crowds have petered out, or watch at home. However, I heard on NPR that the movie was not graphically violent so that it could garner a PG-13 rating as opposed to R, which supposedly it would have been if it had been filmed as written. So parents, keep that in mind.

Here’s my opinion – and PLEASE know this is MY OPINION, your own may vary. The bottom line is: YOU, the parent, are the expert on your own child (and believe me – it really is okay to say “no” or “not yet” to reading it, even if everyone else is saying “yes”).

EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. Ask yourself: is my child less than 13? Are they troubled by things they see on the news? Do they have nightmare easily? Then waiting to read these books is suggested. Believe me, they are not going anywhere. On the other hand, a parent friend asked me about her son reading them: 6th grader, interest in military history and military maneuvers, not easily scared or troubled, very “grounded” and mature, a good reader. I suggested she go ahead – and optimally read it with him (or at the same time as him) so that they could discuss it. Several of my friends have told me that if they had the times to read the Hunger Games themself, then they wouldn’t be asking me. If this is your situation, then may I suggest you read the very short (less than 4,000 word) story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson as a starter and ask yourself if your child could handle the themes and implications of it. Read it free online at:

http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/lotry.html

This piece is conceptually similar to The Hunger Games, but Hunger Games is obviously longer, futuristic, and has graphic violence.

One of my points here is that reading Hunger Games, or any book for that matter, is more than a matter of reading level. It is more than getting through the pages. It is understanding the concepts behind the novel and being able to reflect on them. A well-written book can change the way you think about life. If your child reads this book at ten years old, will they glean as much from it as they would if they were fourteen or fifteen?

As for my thoughts on “Mockingjay”, while I found it sad and disturbing (similar to “Deathly Hallows”), it was very good and I enjoyed it. The story is continued and concluded with the rebels fighting the government with Katniss as their mockingjay. Peeta is recovered to them, but has been mentally “hijacked”. Katniss continues to fight for her family, while trying to decide just who it is she loves. It was a very satisfying conclusion to the series.

I got my copy from the Amazon Prime borrow-for-free program.

Quick Review of a Kindle Borrow-for-Free: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Okay – so if you are an Amazon Prime customer, you can borrow certain books FOR FREE for a month on your Kindle. You get a free download – as I understand it, it is one book per month. What a great way for me to read more books for free! It’s sort of like the library but my library ebooks aren’t support by Kindle – and through Amazon you are limited to one a month. (If I’ve misunderstood something, please chime in!).

My first choice was the irrepressible “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. EVERYONE but me has read this book – the first in the trilogy – and EVERYONE has loved it (which is exactly why I did not read it yet). I usually end up hating those books everyone else loves, but not this time. I loved this YA read!

In case you’ve been hiding out this year, “The Hunger Games” is the futuristic, postapocalyptic story of teenager Katniss Everdeen, who is selected to participate in the “hunger games”: Teens selected from each district of the then-USA to compete to the death, while being broadcast live on tv. Will Katniss survive?

This novel reminded me so much of other stories I’ve read or seen — Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, the movie “Running Man”, and “Lord of the Flies” to name a few. I loved it though – loved the characters and the creativity of the action. I may just have to read the next two books in the series.

Written for YA but enjoyed by adults, too, in my opinion.

Hey look – the movie’s coming!
http://youtu.be/p-5ANq4sAL0