The Hunger Games Book and Movie Review

Title: The Hunger Games

hunger games book and movie reviewAuthor: Suzanne Collins

Series: The Hunger Games (Book 1)

Genre: Middle Grade

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: July 2010

Format: Paperback/Kindle

Pages: 384 pages

About the Book:

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

AmazonMy Review:

Believe it or not, before a few weeks ago, I had never read any of the Hunger Games books or seen any of the movies.  I am big proponent of  the “read it before you watch it” philosophy of moviegoing, so I was determined to read the first book before I saw the first movie.  The only problem was my review schedule was so full that I never got around to doing it.

Finally I decided to cut back on my book reviews so I could have some time to catch up on my bucket list of books.  I’m so glad I did!!

I absolutely loved this book!!  The character of Katniss is so tough, but so unsure of herself at the same time.  The book is written in the first person, which is great because it really helps explain Katniss’ motivations throughout the story.  I loved the premise of the book, The Hunger Games, and how Katniss really thought to play to the audience, instead of just trying to survive.  The love triangle of Katniss, Peetah and Gale looks to shape up to a very interesting story in the second book.

I give The Hunger Games five stars.  A must read!!! (Although I’m sure you already have 😉  It’s a fantastic story for teenagers and adults alike!!

Movie Review:

I was pleasantly surprised by how close the movie was to the book.  Of course a few things were condensed for time and space, but overall the storylines followed very closely.  I don’t think I would have enjoyed the movie as much if I had seen it first, though.  Without the first person narration by Katniss it was hard to understand, sometimes, why she acted in a certain way.  I also would have liked for the movie to hI did not receive any compensation for this review.  I purchased the book myself and watched the movie on TV.  All opinions are my own.ave more backstory.

I give The Hunger Games movie four out of five stars.  It’s worthwhile viewing, but read the book first.

 

The Breeders Book Spotlight and Interview With Author Matthew J. Beier

The Breeders

Matthew Beier

ISBN-13: 978-0983859406

LGBT Thriller

January 2012

426 Pages

About the Book:

From Amazon:

The storm has come. Homosexuals, once an ostracized social minority, have taken over the world. They understood the dangers of an overpopulated planet, usurped government power, and created a culture of perfectly engineered families. But Grace Jarvis and Dex Wheelock are heterosexuals–part of the government’s highly controlled backup plan for reproduction–and they have a problem: Grace is pregnant. Dex is the father. It is a crime that has only one consequence: banishment to the Antarctic Sanctuary, an isolated biological reserve where reproductive criminals are allowed to exist in peace, without disrupting the rest of civilization. Yet there are rumors that genocide has already begun and that the homosexuals are finally setting natural breeders on a path to extinction. This leaves Grace and Dex with only two choices: to succumb to the tyrannical regime, or run. They choose to run.

Matthew Beier’s debut novel tells the intimate story of two people bound by the force of life itself as they set out to protect their unborn child and find value for themselves in a world that has rendered them worthless. This rainbow-tinted reflection of our own society–part political satire and part dystopian thriller–is a novel you won’t want to miss.

Content warning: This book contains explicit material including strong language and graphic sexual content and violence, and may be disturbing to some readers.

Purchase the book on Amazon/Kindle

About the Author:

Interview with Author Matthew J. BeierMatthew J. Beier is a novelist, screenwriter, photographer, and graphic designer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When he was nine years old, the film adaptation of Michael Crichton’s “Jurassic Park” (and, subsequently, the novel itself) inspired a passion for storytelling in him that branched in two directions: writing and movie making. This led him to film school at Chapman University in 2003, where he spent three semesters studying screenwriting, film production, and English before spending a final semester abroad at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. When Matthew isn’t working, he enjoys tea, exercise, watching films, and spending time with his friends and family.

Interview with the Author:

TM: What sparked the idea for The Breeders?

MJB: The Breeders was a fusion of two unrelated things: my [gay] friend’s well-purposed use of the term “Stepford fag,” and the National Organization for Marriage’s 2008 ad campaign equating gay marriage to “a coming storm.” When my friend made the “Stepford” joke in reference to gay male couples nesting in suburbs, I imagined a whole neighborhood—and then society—of them, complete with controlled, engineered families and all the usual stereotypes. Then, I saw the NOM’s ad, which portrayed alarmed heterosexuals commenting about gay marriage against billowing thunder clouds. Being a gay male myself, I’d spent a lifetime on the social fringe due to my sexual orientation, and I couldn’t help but think that the people responsible for the ad hadn’t even bothered to put themselves in the place of the people whose lives they were trying to affect. When that sentiment collided with my visions of gay suburbia, the book bloomed to life. At first, I thought it would be a satire with straightforward humor, but that changed as soon as I started rationalizing the world. I found it a bit more chilling to take an ambiguous approach—to juxtapose the satire with the darker, more serious story elements in a way that would challenge readers to make their own assessments. I didn’t want to spoon-feed them anything. Not everyone will like that approach, but it allowed me to write exactly the book I wanted to write.

TM: Do you think the world as portrayed in The Breeders could really happen?

MJB: I did a lot of research to sell the concept presented in the book, but I’m fairly certain any biologist would tell you that combining same-sex genes to form functioning human beings is complete science fiction. Thus, I don’t think a society kept afloat by homosexuals will ever happen. That said, most of the scary stuff in the book—overpopulation issues, prejudice based on sexual orientation, sexism, hate crimes, and genocide—is happening in the world right now, which is why the book may be relatable for a lot of people. As for the future, I could see a “liberal” movement toward sterilization happening, if human population continues to grow at the rate it has in the last century. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually decreases drastically by some disaster—possibly a man-made one like the Bio Wars. Who knows?

TM:  I see that you are also a photographer.  What are the similarities between photography and writing?

MJB: Here’s a roundabout answer: I’m happiest when I’m producing something, whether it’s a book, a photo, a painting, a video, or whatever. It has been that way since I was a kid. When I was about three, my sister Mara supplanted me as the youngest child, and I was distraught. On the day of her baptism, I was so bereaved that I snuck off and painted twenty watercolors (which my mom apparently saved) to make myself feel better. Nothing really has changed. Creating stuff, whether it’s good or terrible, gives me a sense of purpose, and thus makes me happy. Photography is similar to writing—and anything else I make—in that it’s just another way for me to interpret my world. I love adjusting light and color to create images that somehow move me, which isn’t much different than adjusting words on a page to tell a good story. It’s all about that final feeling of enjoying what has come out of me, and hoping others will, too. I still haven’t figured out what the drive to create art really is, but it definitely has to do with feeling contentment at having shared my best efforts with other people.

TM: 
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

MJB: Learn all you can about the publishing business, and listen to people’s feedback. Your vision is your vision, and certain aspects of it are going to be set in stone. Even so, bend wherever you need to in order to make your book a product that people will want to read. If you want to make a living writing novels, you’ll need to sell them, whether you publish traditionally or independently. Get test readers who won’t be afraid to tell you where your book needs work. After that, realize that your book probably does need work and that your words aren’t always gold fresh from your fingers. Some might disagree with this, but I think a healthy dose of self-doubt can help writers strive to be better—and as a result, have a better chance at success. Just be careful not to be so much of a perfectionist that you get lost and never finish the work.

TM: Tell me about any upcoming projects.

MJB: I’m in a project flux at the moment. The book series I have been working on since high school—the story I’m really, really excited about—just isn’t working in its current form, and I’m not yet sure how to fix it. I’ve been rewriting, rewriting, and rewriting, but I decided in December to shelve it temporarily. On the bright side, a new book idea came to me over Christmas, and I’m quite excited about it. All I can say is that it’s about a bunch of twenty-somethings who return to their hometown for the funeral of a high school friend who died under very strange circumstances. It won’t be as dark as The Breeders, but it will still examine some of life’s biggest questions. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will work!

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