The Hunger Games, that is. While the rest of the world has been talking about this book (and the movie, which opens on Friday) since its publication in 2008, I just read it. I have to say my interest in the book was piqued by the movie trailers and the fact much of the movie was filmed in my home state of North Carolina. Some scenes were even filmed in my hometown of Concord.
For those who might be like I was a couple weeks ago and totally in the dark about this book and film, I give you a short blurb.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen lives with her mother and little sister Primrose in what is left of North America. They reside in District 12, which is the Appalachaian region of the former United States. All twelve districts are run by the Capitol, which is located in the Rocky Mountains (NORAD anyone?). Katniss and Prim's father was killed in a coal mine explosion, and it is Katniss's hunting and foraging skills that keep the family from starving.
To remind the Districts who's in charge, the Capitol holds the Hunger Games each year. The names of all boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 are put in large bowls and one boy and one girl are selected at random from each District to compete in the ultimate reality game. These twenty-four children fight to the finish, and the last one standing wins a life of luxury.
The selection process is called the "reaping" and the children selected are called "tributes." After assuring her little sister her odds of being picked are slim because it's her first time in the reaping, Primrose's name is drawn anyway. To spare her sister, Katniss steps up to take her place in the deadly competition.
Dictrict 12's other tribute is a boy named Peeta Mellark whose father is the town baker.
Katniss and Peeta are transported to the Capitol, accompanied by Effie Banks (the pink-haired lady who selected the tributes) and Haymitch Abernathy (their mentor and District 12's only Hunger Games victor). There they are groomed and trained and paraded before not only the Capitol but the Districts as well (the games are televised live and watching is compulsory -- the only time television broadcasts are predictable) before being set out to compete in the games.
This former Phillip Morris cigarette plant in my hometown was used for scenes of the Capitol.
So have you read the book? And the two other books in the trilogy (Catching Fire and Mockingjay)?
And are you going to see the movie? As compelling as the book was, I'm still undecided about seeing the film. If I do decide to go, I'll probably wait for the initial hubbub to wane and the crowds to thin.
PS. Smarty Pants kicks off her blog tour today. Check out her facebook fan page for the schedule and links.