March 10, 2012, 10:35 AM: In the wake of traditional Saturday morning family breakfast, I find myself in a bookstore with my twelve year old brother. Unsurprising: the copy of Dave Egger’s How We Are Hungry clutched in my fist like spoils of war. Surprising: the table full of Hunger Games paraphernalia and paperbacks that said brother is lingering over.
“Haveyou read this?” he asks me. “My friend is reading it. You should read it and tell me if I’ll like it!”
Having discovered an unanticipated new meaning for the phrase, “Everyone and their brother has told me to read this book,” I purchase it. Sibling status: awesome. Fate status: sealed.
Me, 11:15 AM: Oh, I’ll just read a couple pages.
Me, 11:35 AM: Oh, I’ll just read a couple more pages.
Me, 11:57 AM: Goddamn it I, I have shit to do today. I’ll go buy coffee. I will put this book down. My resolve is strong.
Me, 12:15 PM: My resolve is so not strong. My resolve is the opposite of strong. What is resolve? Do they have it in Panem?
Me, 12:16 PM to 3:00 PM: NOTHING ON EARTH MATTERS EXCEPTING FINISHING THIS FUCKING BOOK
So join me, tumblr, on an ~exciting recap~ of my journey through this life-killer of a novel. You will laugh! You will…no, you’ll probably just laugh. At me. I don’t care; I must get it out of my brain before I like, break from sanity and buy the next two on my computer and end up bleeding out my eyes trying to finish them as rapidly as possible. I just. Hunger Games, what even are you.
Please note before we begin that this is a) very very very much meant to be tongue-in-cheek and b) I hate Peeta so much. So. Much. If you like Peeta, I do not hate you! I just hate Peeta. Be warned. With that said:
The Hunger Games: A Recap
Katniss: Hello, I am Katniss, I’ll be your heroine today. On your left, notice the dystopian future that has probably given at least one YA reader horrible nightmares! On your right, see my bow and arrow. That I can use. To shoot things. Awesomely. Because I’m awesome with a bow and arrow. In case you missed that: I shoot things with a bow and arrow. Hunting. Shooting. Arrows. Hunting.
Gale: Hi, I’m Gale!
Me: Dude. You, like the people in the first five minutes of any episode of a crime-based show, Doctor Who, or House, have shown up too soon. I sense you are going to get the shaft, Gale. The shaft is strong with you, Gale. Run, Gale. Run.
Gale: Katniss, let’s run away together.
Me: NOT WHAT I MEANT, GALE
Gale: Seriously, Katniss, let’s just run off into the woods and never look back and have lots of babies I mean what I mean I don’t want to have babies unless you want to have babies in which case totally all the babies but I mean—
Katniss: HUNTING HUNTING HUNTING
Gale: Okay. Not desperately in love with you or anything. Just going to be over here. Pouting because you won’t run away with me. Manfully.
Katniss: LESS TALKING MORE HUNTING
Primrose: Hello I am twelve and I am adorable and my big sister will do anything for me because my sweetness is so contagious and I am so cuuuuuuuuuuuuuute
Me: …have you been talking to my brother?
The Hunger Games: Yo, I turn out to be a state-mandated fight to the death—
The Hunger Games: Between unwilling and randomly chosen victims—
The Hunger Games: Who are children—
The Hunger Games: Whose chances of competition are increased by how many extra times their starving selves put their name into the drawing for survival food to feed their families!
Me: W H A T
The Hunger Games: Oh, and we’re broadcast on live television, to entertain the people and also subdue them with the reminder that we can take their children and have them slaughtered at any time.
Me: WOW, THIS IS SUPER NOT THE LIGHT-HEARTED AWESOME LADY HUNTRESS STORY I WAS ANTICIPATING
The Hunger Games: We get that a lot.
Primrose: I am so cute and adorable!
Katniss: Today is the reaping, i.e. the reaping of unwilling child victims for the death slaughter—
Me: SERIOUSLY WHAT
Katniss: I am in the victim drawing a bajillion times because I have taken over the running of my family in the wake of my father’s death and my mother’s subsequent depression, and submitted my name to this death-contest as many times as possible to get the most food in between hunting for game to feed us and to sell to keep us moderately solvent!
Me: ….okay you’re pretty fucking badass, Katniss.
Katniss: And thank god I am in the drawing a bajillion times and not my sister, Primrose, who is so cute and adorable and who certainly will not get chosen!
Me: NO WAIT NO WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT DON’T YOU KNOW ABOUT DRAMATIC IRONY STOP THAT THOUGHT KATNISS WHYYYYYYYYY
Gale: I am in the drawing even more than you! And also I am having some emotions and feelings that seem to be the kinds of things you might be repressing, but will feel later! I’m relevant to the plot of this novel! I am! I swear I am!
Me: Gale, no. I told you to run before, and you did not listen to me. It is too late for you now. You are already on the path to getting the shaft. Sit down.
Gale: CLAP IF YOU BELIEVE IN ME IT WORKED FOR TINKERBELL
Child Thieves: I CHOOSE YOU, PRIMROSE
Me: Well, that gif makes a lot more sense now.
Child Thieves: Fine whatever. I CHOOSE YOU, PEETA
Me: PETA? Like the assholes with the red paint and the sexism and the…oh, no. Two E’s. Peeta! Maybe I won’t hate you.
Peeta: I would not really count on that.
Katniss: ~Yeasty memories of bread and kindness but mostly bread~
Gale: WHAT, NO
Townspeople: *Refuse to clap for tragic child murder contestants of tragedy out of tragic solidarity in the face of the oppressive regime that is really shockingly oppressive given this book’s purported target audience*
Gale: HEY ASSHOLES WHAT GIVES DID I NOT JUST ASK YOU TO CLAP
Haymitch: Drunk drunk drunk drunk drunk rumble stumble drunken tumble
Katniss: Wait, you’re supposed to be our mentor?
Me: Wait, they have former winners of this child murder contest mentor the future child murderers? WHY IS THIS BOOK BEING MARKETED TO KIDS
Peeta: ~Extended discussions of bread~
Me: Okay, Peeta. We get it. You are a baker’s son. Bread. All the bread. Lots of bread. Right there with you. I hear you on the bread.
Peeta: Would you prefer some ill-concealed longing gazes of love for Katniss, to whom I have never spoken before?
Me: Liking you is going to be a struggle, isn’t it.
Gale: YOU HAVE NO GODDAMN IDEA
Me: Wow you are really fucking obnoxious.
Katniss: Wow you are really fucking obnoxious.
Haymitch: Drunk drunk drunk drunk drunk
Peeta: Bread bread bread bread bread bread
Me: SERIOUSLY HAS EVERYONE FORGOTTEN THIS IS A MURDER CONTEST
Katniss: SERIOUSLY, ABOUT HOW THIS IS A MURDER CONTEST
Me: No one understands me but you, Katniss.
Gale: I WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD YOU, I WOULD HAVE, MEEEEEEEEE SOMEONE CALL MEEEEEEEEEE I VOLUNTEER
Everyone: Shhhhh, Gale. You get only flashbacks now. Flashbacks and memories. We tried to warn you.
Gale: I don’t like anybody in this bar.
Stylists: ~HO HO HO, HA HA HA AND A COUPLE OF TRA LA LAS, THAT’S HOW WE LAUGH THE DAY AWAY IN THE MERRY OLD LAND OF OZ~
Katniss & Peeta: I have never seen so much food in one place in literally my entire life.
Me: They should have called this book “The Privilege Games.”
Cinna: Hello, I am here, and I am ~fabulous~.
My Brain: Here, have a mental image of Cillian Murphy in gold eyeliner for no reason. Followed up by an image of Lenny Kravitz in gold eyeliner when you remember that you have seen this casting choice on tumblr. They will both be in your head, in that eyeliner, for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.
Me: Bless you, The Hunger Games. Bless you.
Cinna: Also, I’m going to set you on fire.
Haymitch: Under this drunken exterior I am secretly a sly conniving bastard with winning on my mind.
Me: Yeah, you won the child murder contest when you were a child, is anyone surprised by this revelation?
Katniss: I AM SURPRISED
Peeta: I WILL BE SURPRISED THROUGHOUT MOST OF THIS BOOK
Haymitch: So, what’re y’all good at? Demonstrations welcome.
Katniss: Well, uh—
Peeta: HERE’S A WHOLE LIST OF THINGS SHE’S AWESOME AT, SHE CAN THROW KNIVES, SHE CAN HUNT AND SHE’S SUPER GREAT AT IT, I’VE EATEN ALL OF HER SQUIRRELS IN THE BLIND PASSION OF MY SILENT LOVE
Katniss: ….what the hell.
Haymitch: And what are you good at, Peeta?
Me: Goddamn it Peeta I hate you so much
Rue: Hello! I am small and cute and adorable and twelve and I possess all the qualities of your sister Prim, who is back in District Twelve being looked after by Gale—
Gale: WHO CAN HUNT AND MANAGE TO HAVE A REAL HUMAN CONVERSATION WITH THE OBJECT OF HIS AFFECTIONS AND HAS BEEN KATNISS’S BEST FRIEND FOR YEARS AND IS MAKING SURE HER FAMILY IS PROTECTED IN HER ABSENCE JUST IN CASE ANYONE WAS WONDERING
Peeta: Shut up, Gale, it is the era of FROSTING AND MOONING
Gale: I HATE THIS BOOK SO MUCH
Rue: Aaaaaaanyway, I’m going to die tragically. Later. After you’ve formed an emotional attachment to me.
Katniss: Yeah, I kind of figured. I’m going to try to avoid doing that.
Me: Good fucking luck, dude, this has “tearjerker setup” written all over it in big sparkling letters.
Katniss: SHUT UP AND LET ME SHOOT AT THE GAMEMAKERS IN PIECE
Me: Seriously, you are so badass it is ridiculous.
Me: I want to have a cigarette.
The Hunger Games: SHUT UP AND READ, BITCH
Me: Seriously, I can take the book outside with me—
The Hunger Games: NO ONE ESCAPES MY CLUTCHES UNTIL EVERYONE HAS BEEN MURDERED
Me: No, but honestly, I just want to—
The Hunger Games: PUT ME DOWN AND DIE.
Peeta: Hello the entire country, I am a baker’s son and I am totally in love with Katniss, shame we’re going to have to kill each other.
Katniss: ….seriously you didn’t want to warn me before you did that on live TV
Katniss: I BREAK A PLATE AT YOU, YOU CONNIVING BASTARD
Me: Katniss, I do not blame you at all for reacting that way, but I do not think Peeta is conniving. I think he is dumb. It is not the same.
Haymitch: KATNISS DUDE CHILL, it’s an angle! The romance! Play it up! The crowd will love it! Advantage advantage advantage!
Katniss: Is that what this was, Peeta? An advantage for both of us? A strategy play?
Peeta: Ahaha. Yes. Obviously. Of course. Could you say that word again, ‘strategy,’ maybe use it in a sentence? Once or twice? Also a dictionary definition would be helpful.
Katniss: Well, good thing you’re not in love with me! That would have been awkward. Given the whole, you know, murdering thing.
Peeta: Yeah, totally. Right. Seriously, though, that word—stramagy, was it? Stammergy? Oh, well, I’ll probably figure it out.
Live Television Murder Spectacular: Welcome to the Seventy-Fourth Annual Hunger Games!
Me: THERE HAVE BEEN SEVENTY THREE PREVIOUS ROUNDS OF CHILD MURDERPALOOZA?!?!
Live Television Murder Spectacular: If you step off of your platform early, you are blown to bits by land mines. If you step off your platform at the appropriate time, you may run to the supply pit in the center of the arena, where you will be brutally slaughtered by the other children. If you go the other direction, you will have no supplies at all with which to survive in the naked wilderness. Have fun!
Me: SERIOUSLY THEY SELL THIS BOOK TO CHILDREN BECAUSE WHY AGAIN
Children: Peace out, being murdered
Katniss: Peace out, dehydrated/living in the trees
Katniss: Kind of regretting the whole “girl who was on fire” thing a lot. Like. A lot.
Sponsors: *Drop medicine from the sky*
Me: Wait, you can drop things from the sky into this nationally television live fear event? Where are the branded bottles of water? Where are the random logo-clad tote bags? Did none of you see The Truman Show?
Rue: HEY Y’ALL I’M SPIDERMAN. SPIDERGIRL. SPIDER SURROGATE SISTER? WHAT UPPPP
Me: ….okay, I admittedly did not see that one coming.
Tracker Jackers: Hey hey heyyyyy, we are massive super deadly wasps that can track you through the forest like evil hornets of death and when we sting you, if you live, you hallucinate violently, including hallucinations of other bugs. SLEEP TIGHT MOTHERFUCKER
Me: Fuck this book so much.
The Hunger Games: I will ruin yooooooooooooou and everything you looooooooooove
Rue: *Dies tragically*
Katniss: *Is heartbroken*
Katniss: *Has a moment of understanding about Gale’s fury at the oppressive regime of oppression*
Gale: HI HELLO ME ME ME ME ME ME ME PLEASE ME MEEEEEEEEEEEE
Gale: *Gets yanked off-stage by cane a la The Muppet Show*
The Hunger Games: I demand that you cry now, reader. Cry. Cry. I have been designed to make you cry right here. Submit to my emotional manipulation, goddamn you! CRY OR SUFFER MY WRATH.
Me: WHY ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BE SURPRISED WHEN THE TRAGIC CHILDREN IN THE TRAGIC MURDER GAME DIE TRAGICALLY, AM I *MISSING* SOMETHING
The Hunger Games: I will punish you for this later with extended descriptions of pus.
Me: WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS
Sky Referee of Doom: Hey, for the first time ever, if two people from the same District are the last two contestants standing, they both get to live! Because we’re totally in the mercy business. Totally. Do not look at the man behind the curtain of child-on-child murder.
Me: Surely, following her Rue-inspired resurgence of hatred and mistrust of the oppressive regime that has been oppressing her all of her life, Katniss will recognize that this is a lie and—
Katniss: PEETA WHERE ARE YOU I DON’T HAVE TO KILL YOU NOW
Me: Goddamn it.
Katniss: Peeta, where are you?
Peeta: I AM THE FOREST AND THE FOREST IS ME
Katniss: JESUS FUCKING CHRIST ON A MOTHERFUCKING CRACKER, YOU BLEND INTO THE GROUND LIKE YOU ARE MADE OF GROUND
Peeta: Did I not tell you about how I am a frosting savant?
Peeta: Oh, also I’m dying of fever/blood poisoning/blood loss/starvation.
Katniss: Goddamn it.
Haymitch: Hey gurl, I will send you the supplies you need to survive in exchange for your increasing the sexual tension between you and Peeta. But not for any other reason. Just FYI.
Me: Okay, so at this point, this is a YA book about: child murder, oppression, privilege, really gruesome death, dystopian future, giant murder wasps, tragedy/emotional manipulation AND sexual coercion?
Haymitch: I don’t make the rules, I just drop the sexual tension rewards.
Katniss: This whole nursing Peeta back to health/agreeing to let him tramp around behind me in the woods like a noisy noise machine/general involvement with Peeta is probably going to hinder my chances of survival.
Me: YES, YES IT IS, PLEASE LEAVE HIM TO DIE AND BE SILENT ABOUT BREAD FOREVERMORE
Katniss: But I’m going to do it anyway. Because sexual tension rewards/feelings that I do not fully understand??
Gale: WE COULD HAVE HAD IT ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
Me: ROLLING IN THE BREAAAAAAAD
Peeta: So I’ve been in love with you since you were a wee bb Katniss and you sung my heartsong in your beautiful voice of beauty and I have harbored these feels silently and stoically all this time, LOVE ME
Katniss: Dude, you didn’t want to maybe like, I don’t know, come say hey at school when my father was dead and my family was starving to death? Or. Something?
Peeta: I gave you the bread of my heart. THE BREAD OF MY HEART, KATNISS
Me: I legitimately think he has ruined bread for me, how is this possible
Peeta: Oh, shit, these are deathberries? I just thought they looked tasty.
Katniss: I…you…whatever. Whatever. Let’s just take the deathberries and go.
Live Television Murder Spectacular: FOR OUR FINALE, PLEASE FIGHT WEREWOLVES WITH THE EYES AND POSSIBLY BRAINS OF YOUR DEAD COMPETITORS
Me: Dude, Suzanne Collins must have some seriously fucked-up nightmares.
Live Television Murder Spectacular: Oh, by the way, Katniss and Peeta, we were totally kidding before about both of you living. NEITHER CAN LIVE WHILE THE OTHER SURVIVES. Get to the murdering, young lovers. The ratings are going to be killer.
Me: Well, and least this can’t come as a—
Katniss: I AM SO SURPRISED
Peeta: SURPRISE IS MY MIDDLE NAME
Me: God. Damn. It.
Katniss: SUICIDE BY DEATHBERRIES
Me: NO PLEASE JUST KILL PEETA
Katniss: SUICIDE BY DEATHBERRIES!
Peeta: YOUR PLANS ARE AWESOME.
Live Television Murder Spectacular: NO WAIT DON’T DO THAT EVERYONE WINS AHAHAHAHA MERCY WE’RE TOTALLY GREAT AT MERCY
Me: Tell me that these characters recognize that they are in all likelihood going to be killed or at least made to suffer for their insolence at some point in this series. Tell me that. Throw me a bone, Hunger Games.
Katniss & Peeta: YAY WE GET TO LIVE.
The Hunger Games: Fuck bones and fuck you!
Katniss: Hey, Peeta, so you that all my feelings and stuff for you are all tangled up with like, my feelings for Gale—
Katniss: —and, like, uh, the whole sexual tension rewards game and the fact that we just got out of a situation that was designed to make us brutally kill each other and also we had to play like we were in love to make sure the government wouldn’t brutally kill us? You know that, don’t you? You are like. Paying attention to basic reality, aren’t you? Please tell me you’re paying attention to basic reality.
Peeta: You have broken my heartbread.
Katniss: AUGH NO DON’T BE SAD
Gale: Goddamn it.
Heartfelt reunion between Katniss and Primrose, The Sister For Whom She Quite Literally Risked Everything: ~Not pictured~
Gale: Ugh. Ugh. I hope I get to be in the next book. I hope I am awesome. I hope no one talks about bread at all.
Me: Me too, Gale. Me too.