"Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where I told you to run, so we'd both be free.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree."
That's verse three in a song Suzanne Collins' character Katniss Everdeen sings in Mockingjay, the third and final book in her Hunger Games trilogy. Though the series has clearly been aimed at the Young Adult reader, these books should be read by everyone. And, yes, you will need to read all three because they are really one bigfatbook. Really, I would wonder how anyone could read just one.
In a video interview at the B&N website, Collins squirms when faced with how to describe what The Hunger Games is about. That's always my favorite question to writers because I wonder how to describe some of my own novel-length works, so the answers help me. Collins finally suggests just reading the first chapter, contending it will answer that question. Ha! (Bet she hates writing a synopsis, too.)
Actually, before that, Collins compares The Hunger Games to the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. I would describe it as having bits of those swirled with the edge-of-your-seat action of a Tom Clancy novel and peppered with a healthy dose of several seasons of Survivor.
Whatever Collins did, she did it gangbusters. The plot is compelling, the setting dynamic, the characters well-liked. The whole shebang moves with incredible speed.
But what's it about really? A possible future for the USA.
That statement alone should scare you. We live in times where the steamroller changes at Facebook appear to engender more rage than the fact our nation is re-experiencing taxation without representation. Those bubbleheads in Washington care more about what is good for their respective parties than about the people they claim to represent. Hello! People are struggling out here!
Our retirement savings have gone poof. Jobs? What jobs? Our young people aren't able to find many, and those they do secure are mostly part-time. Walk through the mall. Most of those employees are lucky to snag 20 hours a week. Health care? They don't have any.
People are being forced to retire, leaving some responsibilities in the hands of the unexperienced and poorly trained. And young people are giving a career in the military more than a passing glance.
So could there actually be a Panem?
Why not give The Hunger Games trilogy a look? Then get back to me.
Meanwhile, I'll be slaving away at the keyboard on book two of my own dystopian tale, more inspired than ever.
"May the odds be ever in your favor."