View from this book:
I promise I did a whole lot more in Singapore than just sit back and read young adult fiction, but really, I could only push myself so far each day before I melted in the heat. After spending all day traipsing around the Singapore Botanic Gardens (a fantastic spot),
I dragged myself, dripping, back to my cousin’s apartment, and finished the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy.
Sorry—I guess I haven’t said anything about the books themselves. (See these rather fluffy posts for reviews of the first two books.) They are addictive, action-packed, full of (sometimes sappy) romance in full YA-angsty-style, and have powerful political sub-themes. They are set in a post-apocalyptic North America, where The Capitol holds absolute power over the people of the 12 Districts, who live in isolated labor camps. The 13th District was obliterated because it tried to lead the other Districts in an insurrection against The Capitol. Each year as a reminder that insurrection does not go unpunished, The Capitol holds The Hunger Games, where one boy and one girl are taken from each District and are forced to fight to the death for the “entertainment” of the nation.
A friend of mine, who has close ties to Libya, commented that the first book gave her nightmares because she could have pictured Qaddafi setting up this sort of thing with his dissenters. It’s not that far-fetched—think of what’s happening in Syria. When I was reading this book (March of 2012), the regime had just celebrated its indiscriminate bombing of Homs. It hasn’t gotten much better now in January of 2013. Or, let’s look at Israel and Palestine. Israel is fencing in the Palestinians, cutting off access between villages, and has engaged in acts such as telling over 100 civilians to take shelter in a house and then shelling it and shooting 26 children who crossed the border from Gaza into Israel to collect gravel. The world sits by and watches on TV—essentially, it’s all bread and circuses. Who’s to say that a Hunger Games-like scenario is too crazy to happen in the real world? Book: 7 out of 10. World peace: so far, 0 out of 10.