Suzanne Collins' book The Hunger Games sometimes gets the rap of being part of the derided genre of "chick lit." But is that a label it justly earns? We asked Steve Spears, our most manly of features writers (he only tears up at Chevy commercials), to read the book, and he offered up this list of three reasons The Hunger Games is for everyone.
THE THEME: Let's see ... a story of teenage independence heavy with contempt toward the injustice of adults. So that makes it The Catcher in the Rye for a new generation — one whose attention can't be attracted without a 24-hour cycle of reality TV, celebrity news and Gaga-esque fashion. Katniss Everdeen as Holden Caulfield? It works.
SEX AND VIOLENCE: Okay, so there's actually no sex and just kissing — way too much kissing — and that doesn't help this argument at all. But for every smooch, there's a gruesome death scene — think Predator on steroids but with teenagers — that even Arnold Schwarzenegger would say deserves an R rating.
THE EXCESS: Why just nibble daintily on carrot sticks when you can scarf down buckets of stew until you're sick. Or drink the "white liquor" until even Woody Harrelson (as Haymitch Abernathy) tells you to call it quits. Why, that isn't lady-like at all.
Throw in a bag of potato chips, turn off March Madness for a day and enjoy a book anyone can enjoy.
Steve Spears, Times staff writer