Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Who's a Stronger Female Character Than Katniss?

Today we shall discuss the Hunger Games books.

Just in case, I tried not to spoil the story for anyone.  I'm pretty sure I succeeded.

 To begin with, I've only read the first one.  I liked it, but I didn't love it.  It didn't leave me dreaming and wondering about Katniss (I couldn't even remember her name, I've only learned it since the movie came out and people write it out more often).  What's the pull of a book where everyone you meet dies at the end?  It's a predictable story.  It's an entertaining story, but I could have done without the whole reality tv show/American Idol dressing up theme thing.  That part really turned me off.  I'd rather it had gone:

 Katniss is blindfolded and not allowed to talk to any one and transported to an unknown area and released.  There she meets people, maybe she kills a few...and there is a scene about her guilt at murdering another human.  Maybe she meets Rue and they work together.  Maybe she makes an animal friend and her own bows and arrows.  Maybe she's actually resourceful.

And maybe there isn't a horribly terrible "romance" scene that is a cliche teen romance scene from so many movies.  That was my least favorite part of the book.

"Because I have read these books and, keeping it real, they are not all that well written and the subtext is sort of obvious and clumsy. A comparison to Brave New World or To Kill a Mockingbird really highlights that." ~Random comment from Jezebel article (those colored words "Jezebel article" is a link, if you click it it takes you to more content to put this in context).  

This comment describes how I feel. I  couldn't put my finger on why the book wasn't amazing for me.  (I soooooooooooooo wanted it to be amazing and awesome and wonderful when I started reading it...I wanted to jump on the bandwagon and feel like I was a part of the community and bond with my girlfriends who do like it.  I really really did.  The same goes for Twilight.)  But it does have a clumsy subtext...and it's like saran wrap it's so easy to see through.  

So...what sort of action adventure love story women empowering books do I suggest reading:

Just one:  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte  

Jane is the strongest, most responsible, most caring, most strong, and most confident in her knowledge of right and wrong than any other female character I have ever read about.  AND there is a monster in the book too.

And don't take my word for it:

"It is a novel often considered ahead of its time due to its portrayal of the development of a thinking and passionate young woman who is both individualistic, desiring for a full life, while also highly moral. Jane evolves from her beginnings as a poor and plain woman without captivating charm to her mature stage as a compassionate and confident whole woman. As she matures, she comments much on the complexities of the human condition. Jane also has a deeply pious personal trust in God, but is also highly self-reliant. Although Jane suffers much, she is never portrayed as a damsel in distress who needs rescuing. For this reason, it is sometimes regarded as an important early feminist (or proto-feminist) novel"  Wikipedia

The interesting thing is, I'm not so sure Jane would want to be called a feminist.


There is a ton of books I've read that are worse than Hunger Games.  It's not a bad book, it just doesn't make me want to gush about it and daydream about it.  I'm more confused by why people love it so, more than anything. 

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