1. The trilogy of novels is addicting.
What? You haven’t read them yet? Oh, it’s ok. We’ll wait. No really, go read them. (That’s more of an order than a request, fyi. We’re doing this for your own good.)
What? You just returned to reading this, after 36 hours of straight reading followed by twelve hours of sleep? Yeah, we know. Addicting.
2. They are simple to read.
Well, yes. They are technically Young Adult (YA) novels. But unlike the other widely popular with adults young adult series Harry Potter (which are long, complex and full of Latin-esque words that must become a part of the reader’s vocabulary to fully understand the plot) and Twilight (which is so vapid you must kill brain cells to finish the trilogy. Unfortunately I-Jess- did kill a few of my own. It’s a sacrifice I made for the sake of my job-I’m a high school science teacher who likes to be quasi “with-it”) the Hunger Games trilogy is fast-paced with lovely imagery that leaves you flying through the pages to find out what happens.
3. They are full of yummy social commentary
No, really. You’re shocked right? Because you read the books already and you know this. (if you didn’t read the books and you are still reading this, what is wrong with you? skip back to step one. we’ll wait. Llamadorks are very patient critters). There is the obvious layer of class warfare, mixed in with the subtle flavorings of social inadequacy, topped with a crunchy layer of reality show critiquing. This is dystopia that has captured the heartbeat of our sickeningly shallow, obsessed with violence, war mongering, increasingly unequal lifestyle. Folks, Panam could be the good ol US of A in just a mere decade or two. A little uncomfortable to consider right? Though you were reading fiction, eh? But these ideas are presented in the most light and fluffy layers of whipped, easy reading because a spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down. (see point two)
4. Every girl wants to be Katniss
There I said it. Every girl wants to stalk through the woods with a bow and arrows like a fierce, chic warrior, and avenge her people, and protect her sister, and be loved by two hunky men, and wear pretty party dresses (even if she complains). At very least, we humble llamadorks want to be Katniss. (And our darling Kat is already halfway there!)
5. The food, good God, the food
Suzanne Collins has quite the knack for creating strange foods with just the right touch of familiarity. Tiny vegetables braised in butter! Lamb stew for breakfast. Baked goods galore. Frankly we can’t wait to follow Peeta’s lead and bake fresh rolls from scratch just to dip them in hot chocolate. Small surprise that there are already semi bored semi nerdie foodies all over the internet testing out the recipes (pshaw! not us! not the llamadorks! …ok just not yet. It will happen as soon as we figure out what the heck kind of orange stuff to serve in a pheasant. Hell, we might be satisfied roasting a rabbit or some grouseling over an open campfire at this point ). You will be hungry. You might drool. You have been warned. Probably important to note the starving residents of Panem are always hungry. So the food is described with the other wordly glow of those who constantly pang for it, yearn for it, desire it. Food for thought indeed.
6. The exhilarating mix of Sci-Fi and Romanticism and Dystopia
The universe of The Hunger Games is set sometime in the (hopefully) far forward future of the United States, after we’ve blown ourselves nearly to oblivion and been replaced by the shadowy, totalitarian, vaguely one-world-government-esque, Capitol controlled state of Panem. There are nice futuristic touches for the fanboy in all of us, such as hovercraft, mixed in quite succinctly with throwbacks to Depression era America, with the poor residents of District 12 boiling pine needles to make a weak tea to fill their empty bellies, while the Capitol residents enjoy futuristic showers that dry and detangle their hair via electric current. It’s a quite satisfying mix of two favorite forms of genre for geeks - the old and the new - disingenuously thrown together in what is quite a brilliant dissection of the current separation of the classes within the USA. What better metaphor for the 99% and the 1% than the vast, vast separation of quality of life displayed throughout Panem? Can we doubt, even for a second, that the Hunger Games appeals to us by speaking of a world that, if we are honest, already exists? And can residents of CT ignore that Collins, herself a Connecticut resident, writes of a “Capitol” that bears the same nickname as our own capitol, Hartford? So, how far forward is this really set in the future? Afterall, vintage clothing is already making a comeback, a la the girls of District 12 on Reaping Day.
7. The Hope for Change
Katniss, Peeta and Gale are not satisfied with the status-qua of the Capitol’s control and cruelty over the Districts. Peeta longs for “a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games.” That my friends, is hope. And since you read all the books, you know that Katniss and her Mockingjay will become a symbol not only of rebellion, but hope in the Districts across Panam. It doesn’t matter if the “Odds are ever in your favor” whether you are in the Arena or not, if you have hope, you have life; a life worth changing. A hope for change worth fighting for in fact.
So, will we read and re-read these books over and over, and wait eagerly to see them explode on the silver screen over the next couple of years? Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes. Llamadork approved indeed.