Book Club #10 & Book Club #11 – The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Our 10th Book Club was postponed due to the weather so went for a double whammy this time around! With holiday times and stuff, it meant we could also have it in the afternoon as well. So that called for tea and cake. Cake provided by Tesco via K. It was yummy!

So the first half I dedicated to Gold by Chris Cleave. All of us had finished the book, although W had asked me what happens to the little girl, Sophie. She could not read on if she had died. Rather than use the questions at the back of the book, which are quite in depth I went for a more general overview set of questions, that I had gathered from various sources on the internet. With the aid of young M who picked out random questions for us to answer we covered more general topics. For example – Did you learn something you didn’t know before? At what point in the book did you decide if you liked it or not?

I picked those two questions funnily enough for a reason. I think we all learnt something about cycling but also as K said the  mental strength and exercise that athletes have to go through to get where they wanted to be. I was pleased that they did not go down the drugs route which could have been an easy way to go. C on the other hand thought they could have least covered it in the book but not used it as a plot necessarily. All of us were most upset about Sophie and her illness, and it was C that said Kate was the one who managed to hold it all together – being a wife, a mother and an athlete. In fact it was the way she dealt with her gold medal – by using it as a light pull in the bathroom that kept her very grounded. W did say everyone needs to use the bathroom and it would always be a reminder and always there. As L commented, she did not move away from her terraced house. Unlike Zoe who was always aiming high – living in an apartment purely paid for by sponsorship and promotion deals. They always have the furthest to fall.

All of us agreed that we disliked Zoe with a passion and we had no sympathy for her in any way shape or form. Not one us had changed our minds about her at all throughout the book which was very interesting. We liked Tom, we felt he was the father figure that Zoe had never had but also that he perhaps did love her in his own way which was something that she was clearly missing in her life.

I think we liked the book and that came at different points. The way it was written did throw some of us. L – all of a sudden we were dropped into the death star and star wars which was rather confusing and perhaps is why it took K a little while to get into the book. However, none of us were overly enamoured of the book. It was a book of the time. L thought it would be more about the 2012 London Olympics. I thought the ending was too neat and a but of a let down. C was rather ‘blah’ about it. It was certainly not a book W would have read under normal circumstances but I think that applied to all of us.

A general consensus of this book was that it was not gold but actually a bit beige.


And so to Book 11 – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Of all us that were there – W had started it but really did not get on with it. C,K, L and myself had finished it. Young M was still a bit of the way to go. Now if you did not know already it is pitched as a Young Adult book and M who is only 11 wanted to try reading it because lots of her friends had seen the film. So C said that was ok and that was the reason for our special guest at this book club!

Interestingly K was struggling with the book. She could not understand how the book came about. Here I do not mean how it was written – but the plot. How did we come to be at this point in the world/life – the post apocalyptic. K wanted a book beforehand to explain this book. Young M was our sense of reference who just said that it was what it was. An example of the acceptance of the young against the questioning of everything of the old through experience. However, as an adult you have to reach a point where you accept something in a book and carry on and see what happens so K did.

K surprised us by saying that she loved it! And was now desperate to read the next two, as it was left so open ended. L has read the other two. I have them to read. C wanted to read them. But W still was not sure it was her book to read. It reminded W of the film Soylent Green with Charlton Heston, a science fiction film which dealt with a dystopian future. She just couldn’t get on with the book.

I think in general we could see two main elements of the book – very Roman, gladiatorial in its approach and also the reality TV side of it. Was it just sending up in its own way about what is very popular on almost every channel?

Now when there is a film to the book – it is always better to read the book of course. But for something different, I put on the film not with the intention of watching the whole book but to demonstrate how much had been cut out of the film that was written so well in the book. Interestingly, W who had hardly read any could see that what she had read was hardly covered in the book. Young M was the same, she could see a difference and as her mum C pointed out to her it was always better to read the book. This was what they were both doing with the Twilight films.

If you have watched the film, then I took it up to the point where they came into the arena in the flaming costumes. As K said nothing like how she imagined it would be. The mockingjay pin was different in the film to the book which K and L picked up on. It was certainly a film that everyone wanted to see and thanks to L’s DVD copy it has now gone to C and Young M first. C said her husband would certainly like this film – but as Young M pointed out. “He has not read the book and can’t watch the film”. I think C might have walked into that one! Out the mouths of babes!

So a book club ended. K is desperate to read the next two which L has kindly provided for her and the film is doing the rounds. W is certainly not going to read any more of them, but still surprised herself with how much she had read and what was not included in the film.

So it is on to book 12 and for something completely different – Monica Dickens – One Pair of Hands.