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Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Girl Who Was On Fire (edited) by Leah Wilson


Anyone who knows me is well aware of just how obsessed I am with The Hunger Games series.

I have read each book in the trilogy multiple times, check the fan sites daily, have gotten into seriously heated debates on Team Peeta vs. Team Gale, have had dreams about it...it is all true, as much as I hate to admit it. What? They are my favorite-est books in the whole wide world! (No exaggeration.) So naturally I devour everything having to do with it, and that included getting this book, which contains a bunch of essays numerous authors wrote concerning several topics found in the books.

If you are scratching your head right now, wondering, what in blazes is the Hunger Games, I suggest you call a real estate agent so they can assist you in moving out of that rock you've been living under. (Sorry, bad joke.) But these books are hot, and will only continue to grow more popular, with the movie coming out next year. And it's already set to take over as the top movie franchise now that Harry Potter is well, an archive, and once the world sheds its increasingly annoying Twilight obsession. So do yourself a favor and read these amazing books, and at least in a year or so when the movie is huge you can say you were a fan even before the films exploded.

But let's get down to it. The purpose of this collection of essays was to get fans of the series thinking, to expand their thoughts and ideas, and to explore the many concepts found in The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. Here are the essays:

Sarah Rees Brennan on what makes this series so appealing and good. Jennifer Lyn Barnes on understanding the character that is Katniss Everdeen. Mary Borsellino on how the concept of love played a huge part in the story. Elizabeth M. Rees on the fact that we cannot trust anything or anyone in these books. Lili Wilkinson on the power of surveillance in the Hunger Games. Ned Vizzini and Carrie Ryan on the roles media and reality TV have in the books. Cara Lockwood on the monster-esque creatures and science found in the story. Terri Clark on the crucial role of fashion and appearance in the series. Blythe Woolston on the mental problems the characters face. Sarah Darer Littman on the politics of Mockingjay. Adrienne Kress on the element of decadence in Panem. Bree Despain on community in the face of tyranny.

I found a lot of these extremely well done. There was a good variety of ground covered. Some essays were very light and humorous, others were rather serious. All of these writers had their own unique view points on the philosophy of this thought-provoking series. Even though I felt that some of them were a little long and/or dull at some points, it felt good to read what people who have pondered the Hunger Games inside and out had to say. Each reflection comes from the writer's point of expertise. Political journalist Sarah Darer Littman's essay was one I enjoyed, it talked about the political attitudes of the characters and examined them well. Cara Lockwood's essay about how the science fiction-like creatures in the books was one that was also well done. And of course, Terri Clark and her write-up on style and fashion was also a blast to read. The ones that discuss how the reality TV obsession that both we in the world today and the citizens of Panem share were good too. Essays that talked about the heavier topics are contained in the book as well, and most of these were enjoyably insightful.

Since The Girl Who Was On Fire is not a novel containing a story, there isn't too much to reflect on here within this review blog, so I can't exactly rate it with stars like I usually do in my regular The Bottom Line segment. All I can say is that if you like the series and want to read about what some of today's accomplished writers have to say about it, then go out and pick up a copy.

THE BOTTOM LINE:
A good collection of essays on one fantastic series.

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