Posted by David
on Apr 25, 2012 in Upside-down Hippo
| 11 comments
Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water, more technical difficulties. Honestly, I can’t swing a dead cat. Well, I could, but then I would get such letters! The daffodil people pale in comparison to the cat people.
How are you?
I have been doing various things over the past ten days, including trips to Undisclosed Locations. One thing I did on the trips to Undisclosed Locations was read the Hunger Games trilogy, which left me wishing I had heeded my overwhelming intuition not to read the Hunger Games trilogy. In case you have been living in the same ignorant cave I was until two weeks ago and do not know what I am referring to, I will tell you. Hunger Games is about a barefoot Appalachian girl living in the future who everyone is in love with even though she is secretly sort of hateful. She goes on a reality TV show that is similar to “Survivor,” except instead of getting voted off the island, she has to kill people with her bow and arrow. Over the course of three books—the first of which is good enough despite being contrived, the second of which features less goodness and even more contrivance, and the third of which is so eye-rollingly preposterous that I wanted to snatch myself bald-headed—she sleepwalks her way along to becoming the most important person in the universe. This is apparently not as difficult as it would seem, since she also finds much time in her busy schedule of killing people to swan around wondering who she should be in love with.
Something I do appreciate about the series is the portrayal of the role media celebrity plays in the political and economic subjugation of the masses, and how this is aided by a misguided obsession with stylistic frippery. In this unholy alliance between the politicians, the media, and the stylists, an appropriate proportion of the blame falls on the former two, while the latter generally come across as at worst empty-headed fawns and at best as manipulators of public sentiment for good cause. For me, the best cause of all was the casting of the gorgeous Lenny Kravitz as Cinna in the movie version, so I am giving them a pass on that one.
The worst thing about the books is the writing, which is terrible both stylistically and as storytelling. Actually, while the style (first person, present-tense!) is bad, the storytelling is fine in the first book, which is how they hook you into reading the second, which lurches gracelessly—almost randomly—from scene to scene. The third is written so indescribably poorly that the only motivation for continuing is the faint hope that something redeeming will happen in the end, a hope that, for me, grew fainter and fainter as I watched the remaining pages dwindle. By the last page, almost nothing is resolved, no one is happy, and only the “ever after” quality of the epilogue is reassurance that that author won’t try to pull a fourth book out of her ass. I think it is fine to write a novel with an ambiguous conclusion, and (SPOILER ALERT) I, myself, am in the process of getting around to possibly doing that one day maybe before I die; it is another thing to not work toward that conclusion in any way and just end the book because you have apparently run out of ideas or patience or time, or think it probably won’t matter anyway because you’ve already made millions of dollars off of the others and the cliffhanger in the second book has already guaranteed sales of the third.
Well, anyway. I’d continue but the pipe under my kitchen sink is broken and I need to turn my attention to that. I shall click on “Publish” fearing that the Hunger Games people are worse than the daffodil and cat people combined.