One week ago, I had never heard of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I decided to read the book while in transit and I finished it in two sittings. As you’ll probably be hearing a lot more about it over the next few days as it opened as the number one movie in Australia. Here are my thoughts on it.

The Hunger Games is a dystopia set in North America and told from the first person perspective (the last book I read in this voice was Robinson Crusoe for what it’s worth). The political world is heavily influenced by 1984 and (I suspect) Kurt Russell’s Escape from New York. The story is based on an annual event where two teenagers from each district are chosen at lottery to represent their district in mortal combat in a televised arena.

The main character is redemptive choosing at key points to sacrifice herself for the needs of others. This plays well against the backdrop of adolescent gladiators. She fights for love and family; others fight for glory and honour.

There is a strong satirical emphasis on the correlation between violence and entertainment. I think that this topic in particular would be a worthwhile discussion when talking about the book with people who have read it. The description of the violence is not gratuitous by today’s standards. That being said, friends who have read the book have called it “dark” and “creepy.”

If you’ve read “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell, you have a good idea of The Hunger Games.

I would encourage you to read it (it will take no more than three hours) if only for the opportunity to build relationships with people who have. I didn’t know anything about it seven days ago but I have already had several thought provoking opportunities since reading it.


  • If your teenager reads Potter, Twilight, or Eragon they have probably already read The Hunger Games so go and ask them what they thought of the book.
  • Here’s a link to my favorite review of Twilight by Sydney’s Miranda Devine.
  • I haven’t seen the movie.

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About Jeremy Kwok

Jeremy grew up in Sydney before moving to the United States for tertiary studies. Jeremy completed the BA, MA (History), and M.Div degrees before returning to Australia with his wife Debbie. He currently works for Christian Education Ministries, a company that owns and operates private schools.


  1. Kezia Dennison 26 March, 2012 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Hey your link for the Twilight review doesn’t seem to work. It took me to a sex scandal post…

    Thanks for reviewing this. I have heard a bunch of stuff about the Hunger Games but had no real clue what it was. Thanks for sharing your thoughts… =)

  2. Jane Gibb 26 March, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Good one, Jem, and relevant. Hunger Games are all the talk among our youth. I think I’ll try harder to borrow a copy and read it for myself.

  3. Steve 26 March, 2012 at 10:35 am - Reply

    We had a bunch of teenagers show up at the archery club on Saturday, including 2 girls, which is somewhat unusual. I suspect there may be a connection with the book/movie.

    Might have to try and read it sometime.

  4. Greg 26 March, 2012 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    I just finished the series. It’s take on “black and white ethics” and “not becoming the enemy” is actually very insightful, and I recommend it for teens. Definitely not for younger though, due to violent themes.

    Also love to add that although there are love interests (and love is an important theme to the books) there is no “sex” involved in that, which is a nice change.

  5. Jeremy K 26 March, 2012 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    @Kez – that article is the right one – you just have to scroll down (it tricked me too when I was linking to it)

    @Jane – Em has a copy – I almost asked her for her thoughts.

    @Steve – this made me laugh. Almost like more people joining the Navy after watching Top Gun.

    @Greg – would you be interested in sharing your thoughts on Book 2 & 3 in addition to my next post?

  6. Alen 29 March, 2012 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Hmm.., I can see that there are possible influences from those two books Jeremy, but to me it seemed like the most obvious source for inspiration was The Long Walk by Stephen King..or even the Japanese novel/film Battle Royale. Thoughts?

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