Banned Books Week: Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games"

BlogHer Original Post

In celebration and acknowledgement of Banned Books Week we'll be featuring some of the books that have been banned or challenged across America this week. Some of the titles might surprise you.We'll look at why they were banned and why readers have found them important.

When Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games was released in 2008 it caused a sensation. The young adult book that was Survivor meets American Gladiator meets guerilla warfare. Collins reported came up with the idea while flipping channels between reality television and coverage of the war in Iraq. In the novel children were pitted against children in a televised game of kill or be killed. It was the fifth most challenged book in 2010.

I've read the whole The Hunger Games trilogy. The books can be difficult to read. The whole premise of a North America where the people in charge condemn those they rule to sacrifice their children to become murderers.... It's hard to stomach. The Hunger Games series is also one of hope.-- the hope that maybe some day the lives of those in teh District can be more free -- happier. They are powerful books and have a strong female hero in Katniss. Who doesn't love a strong female hero?

hunger games suzanne collins katniss gale Jennifer lawrence liam helmsworth

Credit Image: Lionsgate Films 2011

While I don't agree with book banning, there are times like this when I'm not particularly surprised by it. I really can't say that I'm shocked that The Hunger Games was challenged on the basis of being unsuitable to age group and containing violence. That is, after all, kind of the point of the book -- children should not be committing these acts of violence for other's entertainment. However, like The Kams I believe that just because your child may not be ready for it doesn't mean that all the other kids shouldn't read it.

"No bones about it, The Hunger Games is violent. Children are in an arena killing other children. It’s not a fun situation, and it’s why the book is classed as young adult, not middle grade or children. [...] Too violent for your child? Fine. Don’t let your child read it. But do not go to your school board or library and try to remove it from shelves so that others cannot read it."

Chloe at My Hunger Games raises a good point that it provides the ability to have a conversation about ethics.

"The Hunger Games concept is indeed a frightening one. When the book was recommended to me, the story line didn’t sound like something I wanted to read at all. However, I think Suzanne Collins does a brilliant job of telling a story that doesn’t shy away from depicting the inevitable deaths, while keeping the ethics clear."

But there is one other reason that The Hunger Games has been challenged and, to be honest, most of our are scratching our heads about it. It has been challenged on the grounds that it is sexually explicit. Jen at Almost Grown-Up sums up the response to that challenge well.

"You guys, where was the sexually explicit-ness? Did I miss Peeta and Katniss having sexy times while they were fighting to stay alive in the Arena?"

If there were sexy times we missed them and well, as a grown woman I'd like to think I'd recognize sexy times when they pop up in books.

Like most of the other books we've featured this Banned Books Week, The Hunger Games is getting the Hollywood treatment. It will be coming to a theatre near you in March 2012, starring Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss.

Have you read the books? Are you planning to see the movie? Can you tell us where the sexy times were that we missed?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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