Traverse City Record-Eagle

Generation Why

February 6, 2012

Genre crosses cultural lines

Dear Miss Suzanne Collins,

I have never been into science fiction; in fact, I have never read a book, nor watched a movie within this genre. I have never really figured out why people would want to make up things way out of our reality and enjoy it.

With this book, "The Hunger Games," however, you have changed my view on science fiction. It can be engaging and addicting — there were times where I simply could not stop reading.

I am an exchange student from Norway, a country far up north in Europe. It is considered one of the world's wealthiest countries. The world you have created in your book is very different from my world; in Panem all the districts are poor — in Norway all the counties are rather rich.

This book has made me think. It made me think about all I have: a mother, a father, a sister and a cat who love me more than anything else. I live in a large house and have my own room. I go to school every day. I can eat as much as I like. I have friends that care a lot about me; and I play soccer — a sport I am highly passionate about.

I have more than I will ever be able to fully appreciate. But I also take a lot for granted.

In the games, food is not a matter of course. Most go to bed starving every night. I have never starved — I have no clue what it feels like. I have never thought about how good my life is; how lucky I am to live in a safe community, surrounded by supportive and caring people.

That is not the case in "The Hunger Games."

Katniss does not trust her mother, and she no longer has a father. The diversity between rich and poor is immense, and as Katniss' family is among the poor, she is not provided with the same sense of security as the rich. She has no guarantee she will go to bed on a full stomach — neither is she guaranteed that her mom will be able to keep her family together and not go back to being severely depressed, as she was after her husband's death.

Katniss is very strong in many ways. Her mental strength is greater than that of most girls her age. Her knowledge is admirable, and the decisions she makes throughout the book reflect that.

I can see myself in Katniss in many ways. I am not good with a bow and arrow; in fact, I have never tried it. Nor am I a good hunter, but I have mental strength and I am a good decision-maker. However, I would have made a lot of the same decisions as Katniss made throughout the book. Never, during the time I spent reading the book, did I think that I would mirror myself in Katniss. But, surprisingly, I do in many ways.

When Katniss takes Prim's place in the games I realize that I like Katniss — I like the way she stands up and shows everybody what a big sister should do. If I were put into the same position, I would have done exactly the same. I love my little sister more than anyone, and I would do whatever it took to maintain her sense of security. I will protect her in any way that I am capable of.

This book has forever changed my perspective on not just science fiction, but also on life. I am looking forward to reading the following two books in the trilogy of "The Hunger Games."

Kine Marie Ramm is a senior at Elk Rapids High School.

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