With the first installment of Suzanne Collins’ post-apocalyptic trilogy making its film debut, The Hunger Games is on more lips than cold sores. Devotees would have you believe the novel, about young adults fighting to the death for food and wealth in a fascist state, is literature at its finest. Um, no. Here’s a cheat sheet for winning all debates with rabid stans without cracking any spines—book spines, that is.
THG lovers tout heroine Katniss Everdeen as the standard for liberated young women in kiddie lit, but that’s bogus. Everdeen gets manhandled by a squad of stylists until she’s camera-ready. Only true believers would call this social commentary instead of something like the scene in She’s All That where the main chick gets gorgeous after dude removes her glasses.
2. THE LOVE TRIANGLE
Twilight scribe Stephanie Meyer milks more sex out of the Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle than Collins gets from Katniss and her boys, Gale and Peeta. Imagine Twilight as a song by The-Dream: Replace every instance of the word “love” with “fuck.” Makes sense now, right? Meyer and our favorite boner jams producer rock that shit. Collins ain’t hitting it right.
The kids competing in the Games kill each other with spears and mutant wasps’ nests, but what does all that spilled blood mean if Everdeen is rarely the perpetrator? Collins keeps her heroine’s violent acts off-page, meaning little mess on Everdeen’s manicured hands. You can’t have it both ways. Unless you’re sexing up a love triangle, that is.
Collins put Stephen King’s reality TV precursor The Running Man in bed with the teen-centric Japanese cult hit Battle Royale. Nine months later she had a book. She’s given propers to the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, but she should kiss William Golding’s ass a little bit more. Touch it, Piggy; throw your conchs up in the air.