I’d been aware of the book for the past few years but had no desire to read a story about teenagers hunting each other until a recent encounter with a certain 13-year-old girl for whom I have a great deal of respect. Last time I saw her, she was an eager, bright, ahead-of-her-years 12-year-old who wanted to hang out with me. Now, just a few months later, she could hardly pull her nose out of a well-worn copy of “The Hunger Games” even to say hello.
“Oh, I’ve heard a lot about that book,” I told her. “Are you excited about the movie?”
“Yeah,” she said, not even looking up.
“I haven’t read the book, but I’d like to check out the movie when it comes out.”
“You have to read the book,” she said, cutting me off.
I could hear something in her voice that I’ve heard subtly in my own when trying to convey to someone how much a book has meant to me. You have to read the book or else I really won’t think much of you, is what she really meant. You have to read the book or you really won’t know who I am.
At the height of the hype ahead of Friday’s movie premiere, I bought a copy (perhaps the 24,000,001st copy) and dug in, and it seems like I have reached for the book every spare second I’ve had over the past three days. It’s packed with challenging references to food, power and gender (check out Mike Sutter’s list of all the food in the book), and I hope we get to talk about it in a future Feminist Kitchen book club.
My friend was among the millions of people who went to see the movie, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, the young actress that carried “Winter’s Bone,” and give the movie the third highest grossing opening weekend ever. The three-day total, which is somewhere around $150 million, is higher than what the Twilight movies and all the Harry Potter movies but one pulled in during their debut weekends.
I haven’t seen the film yet and I’m still a few chapters shy from finishing the first book, but I think my young friend was on to something.
Photo by nomadic_lass via Creative Commons on Flickr.