O’Donnell is a junior secondary education major and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
I know the common misconception when a book gets popular and is read by anyone under the age of twenty. “The Hunger Games” is a teen girl book, right? False, my fellow Drake student. False. “The Hunger Games” is an epic story of death and love and dystopian unrest, and yes, the main character is a teenage girl, but I assure you she is way more hardcore than you will ever be, so sit down, son.
But you’re not convinced that you should read these books. No. You are a Drake student, so therefore you’re probably on the executive council of at least three organizations and part of two groups somehow involving a combination of Greek letters. You don’t have time for something like reading, you whine, while you search Facebook for hours instead of doing your homework. You are far too busy for something as trivial as young adult literature.
Ok, well first of all, this isn’t “Twilight,” so calm down. Nothing in this book sparkles, and Katniss Everdeen would probably punch Bella in the face. But also, I challenge you not to love this book just as much as the twelve-year-olds who recommended it to me. Following are the reasons you should read “The Hunger Games” based on your involvement at Drake.
Athlete: This book is kind of like the Olympics, but anyone who doesn’t win, dies. Which is pretty much everyone. And I love basketball and everything, but Katniss wouldn’t go into triple overtime with Wichita State. She would sneak up behind Wichita State in the first quarter, track it through the rest of the game and then steal its weapons and food until it turns on itself.
Business major: OK, I’m not going to lie to you. This book is pretty harsh on capitalism. Like, it pretty much predicts class warfare. But on the bright side, it’s not that long and there are occasional references to supply and demand. Even Dean Blum would like this book. That good.
Pharmacy major: You like pills, right? What if I told you the entire series revolves around this one moment at the end of the first book, and the big deal is pills? I’m not making this up. Oh, and there are a bunch of sick people and stuff, so keep doing your job because otherwise we’re all pretty much doomed. Thanks.
Hipsters: The main character wears a dress that’s on fire. On fire. If that’s not counter-culture, I don’t know what is. She also believes in political upheaval and, just like you, she doesn’t consider herself a hipster. You guys could totally be besties.
Sorority: You’re pretty much obligated to read this on the grounds that a) the main character is like your Big if she was cooler, more sarcastic and forced onto a really harsh reality show; and b) this book lends itself to the best theme party ever. I’m not even joking.
Fraternity: You’ve already read “The Hunger Games.” Don’t lie.
Fine Arts: Katniss sings, and there’s a hot guy who paints. I don’t think anyone acts, but they’re making a movie out of it, so that’s got to count for something, right? Plus, later on the music thing inspires the entire country, and I personally think Katniss and her songbirds would be a great asset to the Drake Choir. “The Hunger Games” is basically invented for people who live in FAC.
Psychology major: The second book is more or less a PTSD case study, but less depressing. So… yay? Also, you can analyze the crap out of every single character and make it your senior capstone.
English and/or Rhetoric major: The underlying themes and motifs of “The Hunger Games” exemplify political and economic unrest reminiscent of Marx. In addition, the televised nature of the Games themselves creates a powerful depiction of Foucault’s theorized Panopticon, contrasting, of course, with Katniss’s internalized male gaze. P.S. Or you could read it for fun. I won’t tell.
Multi-cultural organization: Future America according to “The Hunger Games” has twelve districts of varying classes, races and cultures. The whole dystopia thing points out the downfalls of power hierarchies, celebrates a variety of cultures, and is awesomely feminist. The one issue is that despite my best guesses about one particular male character everyone’s supposedly straight. Sorry, Rainbow Union.
Education: “Hunger Games” is a warning about what your future students are capable of if you ever momentarily leave the classroom to use the bathroom. And it’s a nice alternative to teach instead of “Lord of the Flies” or “1984.” No one likes those books. No one. Fair warning: if we’re ever on staff at some school together and you decide to teach those, I will teach your students what anarchy means and that it’s an appropriate reaction to outdated literature. I will teach them this using excerpts from “The Hunger Games.” What up.
J-School: This book is full of irresponsible journalism, so maybe it’s best to treat this as a what-not-to-do guide in case you ever find yourself in futuristic, crumbling America. On the other hand, you can learn somewhat valuable lessons about things like propaganda and videography when trying to positively spin massive bloodshed.
Faculty: Remember a time, back before your doctoral thesis, when you used to make enough money to buy books and have enough time to read them for fun? Well, this is nothing like that. This book is about someone who is poorer than you and probably has less time to read because she’s busy shooting things with arrows and running from death and generally being awesome. Get on the Game train. You’re not too cool for us.
Big truth: Whoever you are, you are not above reading a young adult book. You were most likely a young adult once yourself, and even then you couldn’t measure up to Katniss. “The Hunger Games” is like “Harry Potter” written by J.K. Rowling’s older, hardcore and more compelling sister, and I promise it’s worthy of your time. All the cool twelve-year-olds are doing it.