All parent member reviews for The Hunger Games, Book 1

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Parent Written byMemereMaria December 30, 2011
 

What are your children reading?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a series of books that are being given almost the same acclamation as the Harry Potter series. The first movie is due out in March. I’ve read that some schools are asininely including them in their curriculum and that some young girls are left with nightmares after having read them. Due to the popularity of these books, I would like to issue a warning to parents. Please read the entire series before allowing your children to read them. I feel the books could be psychologically damaging to young, impressionable minds. Please read them in a critical manner. The following are my own thoughts on the series and then I included another review: I finished reading the series last night as I had received them as a gift. The books were riveting, charged, highly emotional, but having said that… I have real reservations about the series. The series is about the extremely sadistic torture of young teenagers. The further along in the series…the more twisted and perverse the story line becomes. But, because of the way it is all presented, you tend to forget that these are children and not adults who must survive these gruesome, hellish games. The sarcastic glory with which the Hunger Games are treated by those in power adds an utterly depraved dimension to the plot. For those who are unfortunately familiar with the Saw movies, the books are more insidious. Besides the almost continuous and multiple ways the author finds to torture and kill off her characters, the under-age main character must stand naked while a man examines every inch of her in deciding how she is to be dressed, is handed suicide pills, watches a close friend beheaded, sees her sister go up in flames and learns that the former victors were sold as prostitutes. Children are forced to kill each other. This is a series for young pre-teens and young teens? What happened to half-way wholesome books for our young ones? Let’s throw-out the misleading ‘young adult’ label these books are given. Children are not ‘young adults’ until they are 18 years old. They should not be considered adults until they are 21 as it always was, but political reasons forbid this. By the end of the series the main characters are left so completely broken in body, mind and spirit that there is no victorious rejoicing. While the feat of eliminating the Hunger Games forever is accomplished, there is very little else to celebrate. This is entertainment for children? Books which are completely absorbing as are these, leave a deep-seated impression that cannot be easily shaken. There is a subtle subconscious psychological impact. In a way, similar to movies and television, the story is such that it almost desensitizes a person to the subject of the torture of children and I feel that is a very dangerous thing. Only someone who has read the entire series will understand what I am saying, here. I would be very interested in knowing what a panel of psychologists would say about the effects of this series on young minds. Whether intentionally or not, to my mind, the series glorifies the torture of children. The movies will do so at a deeper level. I almost have to wonder why the books were written. Supposedly, it was to show the effects of war on children according to one review. But, in reality, these books aren’t about a realistic war, which is bad enough. In reality, there is no-one, no-one who could survive what the author puts the main character through in the games. The series seems to be the product of a mind who has thought up every way imaginable to torture innocent children and present the torture as a story to the world. These books are not the way we want our children’s imaginations to be stirred. Those who will rush to see the movies, which has a big-star line-up, think about what you will be endorsing. Make no mistake, the entire series is about the unmitigated torture of children in as many imaginable forms possible. If we consider these future Hunger Games movies entertainment, then what is that saying about us? Because of the level of violence, sadism and the torture and sacrifice of children, I don’t plan on seeing the movie. And, let’s hope the crazies out there don’t see them, either. I know that everyone is raving about this series….but when people regard a series of books whose entire content is about the extreme, bloody torture of children in every form imaginable, their having to kill each other or be killed ….these are children’s books? Come on. Shame on Scholastic for publishing them. These have to be the most violent children’s books on the planet. They are sadistic in the extreme.
Adult Written bycaitiemm January 28, 2011
 

Amazing book series, but shouldn't be taken lightly

First off, I love this series. I think the messages within it are more mature and useful in this day and age (as it, not like Twilight and pointless vampire romances). I believe it's one of the best series I've read (though the last book I was not as happy with, but that's for another time). However, I would strongly suggest you NOT let anyone under 14 read it, though it does depend on the child. While this book in particular might be okay, a child will continue to want to read the series till the end, and I don't believe Mockingjay and the book series all together should be swallowed by a child. What you need to consider is your child's maturity and perception on difficult situations. This book is very political and war centered with a feel of the Holocaust to it. It deals with many rights and wrongs and human nature (how strong it can be, and how horrible). This series should not be taken lightly, and I highly recommend you read it before your children to see if they can handle the undertones of this book, and then use this opportunity to discuss these difficult subjects with them. One of the things you should be careful of is the desensitization this can cause to difficult subjects. As the series goes on and death tolls mount (among other things), the young reader might start getting defensive and numb. If your child is not ready to talk on issues of WWI or WWII, don't give him/her this book yet. Give it time so they can get everything they should out of the book and not be numbed by it. But I will note, that while this book is based on violence, Collins handles it carefully so not to make it too gruesome. The physical violence is not what concerns me for young readers wanting to read this book.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great role models
Parent of a 10 year old Written byCoredestroy October 14, 2009
 

Hauntingly feasible, irresistible to put down, impossible to forget.

I am currently teaching it to my 7th grade class. We are exploring the social issues of poverty, classism, devaluing human life, and risks of extreme entertainment. Hunger Games has electrified discussions in understanding character motivation, thematic irony, the human condition, and societal injustices. Every kid has had something to say, and often their insight into why people do what they do is captivating. A powerful, edgy novel that motivates non-readers and stimulates the minds of the well read.
Parent of a 11 year old Written byKay409 November 28, 2010
 

Too violent and disturbing for kids

My child just read this book in the 6th grade. He liked it and asked me to read it. Wow I was shocked that the school thinks it is a good idea for grade schoolers to read this. This book is not for pre-teens. While it is well written and a page-turner, that does not make it a great read for kids. It is full of really awful graphic violence. The story is kids are forced to kill kids and that is not what I want my 11 year old's head filled with. It is like letting a child play a violent video game over and over. If you put junk in you get junk out. The message of the book is not to give official authorities too much power over your life so I guess I will call his teacher tomorrow and let her know I am exercising my parental rights to not have my child read the rest of these books at this time.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written bycanadianteacher March 12, 2012
 

My two cents.

I'm going to write this from an educators point of view, but not as a parents. I am by no means the kind of teacher that tries to push boundaries in school. We only watch "G" rated movies and I focus very heavily on moral values and good behaviour. I think that children are saturated with images of too much sexuality, poor morality, and very negative role models. However, I am considering reading this book with my grade 7 classroom, most of whom have already read the series. I think that in schools, for as long as I can remember, students have been reading books with just as much fictional and political violence. I think to Lord of the Flies, The Giver, Pankration and so forth. While I do agree that these books are deeply emotional and violent I do not think they portray violence in the way that video games do, or for that matter most television and movies. There are fairy tales and biblical stories with far more horror. And while some may claim the books have violence of a video game nature, I've also noticed that these books appeal both boys and girls, while video games appeal to a vastly male population. I see these books as a way to engage students in government and literacy. I see characters who are deep. I don't feel an urge for violence or sexuality - in fact it is almost entirely the opposite. I read these books and felt quite strongly as though middle school ages children should be exposed to them. Does it reflect OUR society? No, and we are lucky for that. But I look at the recent "Kony" outbreak over the internet that talks about child soldiers who are forced to mutilate and murder their own family. How does Lord of the Flies reflect our Society? Or The Girl who Owned a City? If the book does not promote sex, does not promote murdering other children (let's face it, it doesn't promote it in any way), but DOES describe violence why then must be it censored? At what age does a child come into the real world? If as a general population they are given cells phones, open access to the internet, fairly free roam with movies and television, why deny access to engaging literature that might actually make them think or.... enjoy reading? The students I come across that aren't exposed to these things are what I would consider sheltered, over protected, and ill-prepared for reality.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bynew mommy April 6, 2011
 

Not for tweens

I think that most people will have a different view on this book because of the violence and different parents have different ideas for what their children should be exposed to. Our middle school 7-8 graders read this with a note home that needed to be signed for violence. In my view, if we need to do the letter home should we be thinking this is not school appropriate since it's not even real history? To put a game out there that children need to kill other children...I think we can do better than that for our kids. If my child was in the middle school and received that particular letter home I don't think I'd realize what it REALLY was when I read it since there weren't enough details about it. Maybe the letter should have said "kids killing kids for entertainment" (just those words twist my gut) and many parents wouldn't have signed it?? I just think there are better things we could be doing with our children...my point of view. Some children can play those terrible games and watch bad movies at home; others don't. I actually felt like I disobeyed the lord by wasting my time and actually getting cought up in the games myself as an adult enjoying the book! I felt guilty! I am not sure I see positive messages in this book because I got caught up with the negative/game part of the story more so. Very well written but not for a family raising their children with good Christian values is my opinion. Thanks.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Parent of a 1 year old Written bysmaurine June 17, 2011
 

I would never allow a child or youg teen to read this

It is a good story, don't get me wrong, but no way would I ever let a child or young teen read this violent book. It's disturbing, to say the very least. It reminds me a lot of the feeling I got when forced to read Lord of the Flies as a youth: creeped out! Good aspects: It shows the unfairness of class differences and promotes deep thinking/discussion; it’s also a rather addictive read. The main character is brave, wise, and rather selfless, but I hesitate to call her a role model because she is forced to kill and maim. Bad Aspects: It’s way too gory and horrifying. After reading some of the death scenes I was shaken for days. When a very young girl was speared to death, I couldn't stop crying. It's not the description of the violence that is disturbing, but the implied terror the mere children feel and the continuing loss of character after character. This book is not for children, but if you decide to let your (older) teenager read it, please take the time to read the book first and make sure it's suitable for your child because I believe it is possible for a sensitive person to experience vicarious trauma just from reading this book.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 7 year old Written byjbkfam March 2, 2011
 

Good for older teens

I liked this book and the the sequels to it. I wouldn't recommend it for young teens even. More of a high school age or older. The book gets pretty intense and even though it doesn't go in to detail it is violent.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byNRCReader April 17, 2011
 

Discussion, discussion, discussion is the key...

Hunger Games is a book with many messages meant to mirror problems in our own society, namely desensitization to violence on tv, reality tv shows that blur the lines between real human sufferring and being kicked off the island, war, famine, haves vs. havenots, just to mention a few. It's a though-provoking read, meant to be discussed and examined by children and their parents/teachers. These issues are alive and well in our own 'reality' and pose threats to our youth that cannot be swept under the rug. Hunger Games provides an entertaining, suspense-filled, well-written stage for these issues to be brought forth and examined with young people - with the hope that they can recognize and become part of the groups of people who work to end them. It's also a great way to look at the decadence of the Roman time period and draw parallels to both the book and our current "reality".
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byTeacher aunt October 7, 2010
 

Violence not sensationalized

Loved the book. Something I think should be said is that the violence is not sensationalized. Most of the children in the "Games" did not want to be there and are not out to kill the others, but to out-last and out-survive them. Very good book for discussion on society and government control.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educator and Parent Written bygreatmomof2 February 24, 2012
 

YUCK

Far too violent. The author's writing is great. She does an excellent job of vividly describing children killing one another. You can almost feel the blood being spewed in your face by the child who is pierced in the neck by an arrow. And people wonder why children today are so desensitized to violence. Amazing!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 6 and 9 year old Written byAndy and Lynne March 23, 2012
 

Not for children, no matter their reading ability!

I have read the entire series and it is a well written thought provoking work. My husband and I spent a week talking it through and digesting all that Collins dishes out. that said, this is not a book for children or even young teens. I have a very mature reader, who is 9yrs old, and I have a hard time finding material for her to read. A teacher at her school once told me the following: If the main character is more than 2 years older than your child, it is most likely not a book suited for them, no matter what their reading level. I try to follow this advice and will for this series. Katniss is about 16 years old, so my child will be 14 when i allow her to read this series. There is so much value in these books when read at the appropriate time. Read to early, I fear, the child will merely see the violence and not have the maturity to see the deeper message. The message in this series is to valuable to be given too early!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written byDr3w November 7, 2011
 

One of My Favorite Books

I love The Hunger Games. I really do. I'm a teenage guy and I wasn't put off by the Twilight-esque romance or the fact that by the third book Katniss Everdeen becomes an emotional basket-case. That said, I don't really understand why everyone think this is great for 12 and up. Maybe a twelve-year-old could read it and be fine. But I think most kids should be fourteen before they get assaulted with the violence in these books. Also, although I wouldn't say that sexual content is an issue, there are scenes that I would be uncomfortable with my twelve year old siblings reading. Peeta and Katniss do A LOT of kissing and snuggling which cheapens the act (since Katniss doesn't really love Peeta in this book) of making love. Second, although I would say that the messages in these books are often positve, there are too many things that parents would need to discuss with their kids to give it a pass. When parents watch movies with their kids, they can talk through things. When kids read books, the parents aren't involved and the kids don't get the actions of the main characters run throug the parental filter.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written bybookwolf May 11, 2011
 

Don't waste your life- READ IT!!!

Loved it. Never met anyone who hasn't. Once someone starts reading it, it will catch on like wildfire.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Adult Written bymaryrebekah March 3, 2011
 

Excellent read for teens as well as adults

Absolutely amazing book. I read all 300 + pages in one day, which is rare even for me, an avid reader. The violence level reminded me of the original Halloween: You're so caught up in the excitement and horror of what's going on that you don't realize until much later that you've hardly seen any blood or graphic gore. It is very violent, though, and the idea of kids being forced to kill each other off on live TV is disturbing, especially with the reality show trend today. But that's probably why the series is so popular -- it strikes a nerve with people in our culture.
Parent of a 10 year old Written byBooksforkids November 16, 2010
 

Love this Book

This is somthing me and my daughter read together me i loved it and continued to read and so did Katie we fell in love with Peeta and Katniss and I think you and your 10 year old will too
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 11 and 14 year old Written byK67 February 23, 2012
 

What is the value of human life?

The premise of kids, who have nothing to do with one another, being ordered to kill each other for spectator sport is horrific. Have we not evolved at all from the era of gladiators? Yes, it is a captivating read, yes, it is a strong female character, but the fact that no one is bothered by the whole premise of the story is deeply disturbing. My 11 year old sees no problem with the book, and "everyone at school is reading it". I find it disturbing that this is what it takes to get kids stimulated to read. Have I let her read it? Yes. Am I proud of that? No. The fact that other parents are more disturbed by the drunken nature of Haymitch than the fact that the main characters have to kill one another is also indicative of the hypocritical approach we take, as as a society, to the value of human life.
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent Written byOklahoma parent February 29, 2012
 

Hunger Games-not games for kids under age 13

Shame on Suzanne Collins for writing a book about teens (ages 12-18) killing each other in (often) bloody hand-to-hand combat in a large arena televised to every person in a country in future times. Not a book for middle schoolers (6th-8th grade). It’s for 13 year olds/older. Reading comprehension level is middle school. Actually, the book is exciting; you want to turn the next page--the problem is the content. Basically, it’s a book about teen gladiators. So what lessons are taught to readers? How to survive and some about teamwork. The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, uses her wits and bow/arrow hunting skills to stay alive by providing food/drink for herself and fellow district companion, Peeta Mellark. Yes, she shows humaneness to two others in the arena in several scenes but so what? It’s long on “kill or be killed” and short on other human qualities. Tell us, Ms. Collins, why did you write a book about teens, not adults, killing each other, as gladiators did? Is it because the market for teen bought books and movies is strong? To be first to write this genre? This isn’t a dragons/warlocks/castles fantasy book; it’s gritty, realistic book that pits realistically built children characters, set in realistic settings, against each other. Yes, Ms. Collins, your wasted your considerable writing talents aiming to collect the almighty buck and fame. Meanwhile, parents like me who care about what our kids read, again defend ourselves against exciting books that aren’t age appropriate for younger than 13 year olds. Thanks for nothing. My 11 year old won’t be reading the book or seeing the (we anticipate) PG-13 movie until he’s 13. BTW, I checked out the book from the public library; didn’t support your royalty.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 14 year old Written bybill@cooperativ... March 9, 2012
 

My support for Common Sense Media just ended!

My view of CommonSenseMedia as a viable resource for parents just ended. How a book about teens killing each can be acceptable for as young as 12-year-olds is beyond me! As a parenting TV show producer and host, I've been referring parents and professionals alike to CommonSenseMedia, writing about the articles in my blogs, and recommending and sharing articles on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. No more!
Parent Written bytreat02 February 17, 2012
 

amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i think this is great. i have read it--amazing. my ten year old read it and she loved it. my husband did too. read it, you wont be disappointed. and kids will love it so parents its great and really? dont say that stuff, janemn1
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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