Hunger Games: What's so great about a teen fight to the death?

Calling all Hunger Games fans: Help this  mom "get it." Why is a fight to the death among teens so great?

AP
Hunger Game fans in Hurst, Tex. on March 22, 2012. Our contributing blogger doesn't get what's so great about children who are forced to compete in a live, televised death match.

I know I am going to make myself pretty unpopular with this post but … here goes nothing.

I do not “get” what is so great about “The Hunger Games.” There. I said it. I started this book weeks ago and got to the point where Katniss and Gale were out in the woods, just before the reaping – I believe I was on page 11. And then I put it down because – seriously? – 24, 12 - to 18-year-old children fighting until their deaths? Horrifying!

So I put it away for a few weeks because I was mad at it. Yes, mad at a book – I get that way sometimes. Nevertheless, after hearing all of the hype this past weekend for the opening of the movie, I decided to give it another chance. This time, I got to page 39. Katniss has volunteered as tribute to take the place of her younger sister Prim, whose name was pulled as the reaping winner for the girls of District 12.

And then, Peeta Melark, was named the reaping winner for the boys. “Peeta looks me right in the eye and gives my hand what I think is meant to be a reassuring squeeze," says Katniss. "Oh well, There will be 24 of us. Odds are someone else will kill him before I do.”

Next they are taken into custody, where they say emotional goodbyes to their families, who will have to watch them compete with the other winners from the districts, and fight until there is one left standing. Meaning, all of the other 23 children have been killed. It’s just … how do you …how do you keep reading from that point?

Back when the Harry Potter books were coming out, they captured my attention early in the first few pages. Same for the Twilight books, although I never did finish the fourth book as I also found that to be incredibly disturbing. I guess that’s where I need the die-hard fans to step in and tell me what I’m missing because I simply don’t get it.

So dear readers, I’m handing this dilemma over to you. It’s yours now. Help me get it.

– The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. This blogger's own site is Spill the Beans.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.