“Hunger Games” a trip back to high school

The movie that’s all the hype this week is The Hunger Games. I hadn’t planned on seeing it, but its $155 million opening at the box office and the fact I have a little more free time than usual this week changed my mind. So I took in a matinee yesterday along with six or seven other people.

I knew very little about the story going into it. I haven’t read the book. I am not a member of any of its fansites. But I can see why this franchise has hit a nerve with young people.

Three thumbs up for "The Hunger Games."

The author has said she came up with the concept by combining the worlds of reality TV and the Iraq war. Makes total sense. However, as I watched the movie, I thought a lot about high school.

School can be a harsh battlefield. It’s not just about studying and getting good grades, but learning to get along with teachers and fellow students to survive. Yes, survive.

Friendships can end as fast as they begin. Some people are cool and others are immediately labeled geeks. Pressure is a constant. You form alliances to get yourself as far to the end as possible. But in the back of your mind you know you will be competing with these same people at some point.

There can only be one valedictorian. There can only be one captain of the football team. There can only be one prom Queen.

I hear many high schools have put The Hunger Games on the reading list, putting it up there with the likes of 1984 and Lord of the Flies. I am glad to see it. This is the kind of book that should be taught and discussed, and not merely dismissed as a “tween” obsession.

This is not another stupid love story about vampires that has teenagers flocking to theatres. Teens – and former teens – are going for a good reason this time.

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