Tuesday, October 2, 2012

BBW - Interview With a Teen - The Hunger Games

Since I'm giving away a copy of The Hunger Games (book 1) I thought it would be only fitting that I interviewed a real teen about her reading of the trilogy.

Click here to enter the giveaway.


Dawn is a 15 year old friend of my daughter’s who is a sophomore at a local performing arts academy. For Banned Books Week 2012 she agreed to do an interview on her reading of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The series was challenged in 2011 because of anti-ethnic, anti-family, insensitivity, offensive language, occult/satanic aspects, and violence. Here is what she has to say.

Me: First, what are your thoughts on banning books?

Dawn: Well banning books in my opinion is quite foolish. I'm saying this because it's all about opinion, whether something offend someone might not offend another. Just because one does not like some of the content, does not mean that the book has to be banned. Simply it mean just don't read it again. I don't think any book should be banned.

Me: I know from previous discussions you have read the entire trilogy already. What are your overall thoughts on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? 

Dawn: I have read it quite a few times, like five,but whose counting. My overall thoughts, well I have a lot. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. At first I was extremely reluctant, and not for the book, or even the idea of the book. It was actually because I'm extremely stubborn. Everyone kept telling me that I had to read this book, now I did not mind that but this one girl,who thought she knew it all kept bagging on me to read this book. To make her angry I didn't, now I know pretty terrible but that was a while ago and finally I was with my grandmother and saw the books so I picked up the first book to read and could not put it down. I finished within a day,went out and bought the next two. They made me feel almost alive and there with Katniss. They were inspirational and made me think a lot!

Me: Did you like the book?

Dawn: I LOVED the book! It was well written and is an extremely good book. It is entertaining, thrilling, full of adventure and romance. It's my kind of book!
Me: What did you like the most about the book? 
Dawn: What I liked most about the Hunger Games was that it made me feel the emotions of the characters, especially Katniss. They allowed me to relate to her in a way, what she was going through and what she had to do. When she had said her mother had tuned out and had to take care of her younger sister,it made me think of my mom when she had 'tuned out'. The book had allowed me to cry when it was sad, smile when it got happy, laugh when it got funny and get anxious when the time came.
Me: What did you like the least about the book?
Dawn: The thing I like least about the book is that my favorite characters died, but again that's what makes a book, good. It makes you feel what the characters are feeling, cry,smile,laugh,get nervous. I had once heard this great quote about stories, it is amazing. "Stories, we all spend our lives telling them...about this...about that...about people. Some stories are so good...you wish they never end. They're so gripping, that we'll go without sleep...just to see a little bit more...some stories bring us laughter...and sometimes bring us tears...but isn't that what a great story does? Makes you feel?" - Dustin Hoffman
Me: What did you learn from reading The Hunger Games?  

Dawn:  What did I learn, that’s an interesting question. This one made me think, a lot, as I'm writing it's giving me quite a tumble. One thing I did learn was to fight for what you believe in, for what you love, and to fight for what's right even if you in a dark spot in life.
Me: Are you surprised that The Hunger Games on the banned book list? Why?

Dawn: Yes and no, because after I had finished reading the books the first time, I knew some daft person was not going to like this book. Just because there is death, some course language and overall what THEY think is right or wrong. Just because some people do not agree with what is written does not mean the book should be banned. There are other people out there who do not think the same. It really is a matter of opinion, if you don't like what is in the book, then don't read it simple as that. Why spoil a great story for others. 

Me: I am curious as to your thoughts on the reasons for why The Hunger Games has been challenged. Did you find the books to be anti-ethnic? Why and was that an issue for you?

Dawn: Anti-ethnic? Well I do not see how it was anti-ethnic, I found no such thing in the books that could be anti-ethnic. When I first read this question I had thought to myself what? I asked my friend’s mom why it would be considered 'anti-ethnic'. She had replied that there were reasons in the different placing of different people and such but one thing she had said caught my attention was that of Rue dying. Rue is from district 11 and is of colored skin (like she is described in the book) and I have no problem with that. Now as far as her dying, 22 of the tributes died, so I don't know why it would be anti-ethnic if other races died also. 

Me: How about the anti-family aspect, did you have any issues there?

Dawn: Anti-family? Really, ok well first wow, and second really?????! I had no problem with it. Yeah Katniss has one parent, her mother, because her father died in a mining accident. Some children in the world have one parent also, but they love each other isn't that enough? Why should that be anti-family if it's being realistic, people need to lighten up, things happen in life it can't be helped. If we are going based on things like that then pretty much everything is anti-family, right?

Me: Did you find the books to be insensitive?

Dawn: Insensitive, I don't think it was insensitive at all. 

Me: Did you find the language in the book too offensive? Any worse than what you have heard in school?

Dawn: The things I hear in school would shock some people. If this book is banned for the content written in it then talking in school should be banned.

Me: What about the idea that the books could be challenged for occult/satanic views? 

Dawn: There is nothing of the sort in this book. There is a mention of Katniss' mother of  working her magic with herbs, but really it was just a word to describe something. This world is becoming a bit sad.

Me: With the release of the first movie in the trilogy there was a lot of talk about the violence in the book. Did you have a problem with it while reading the books?

Dawn: I had no problem with the violence in the book, I have seen fights in school and have seen worse on the television. It's a book we are talking about, that has been made into a movie. Movies have ratings for a reason, it's pg-13 it also advices people on why it was rated that rating, if you don't like violence it is stated there, so don't watch it. There are also ratings and reviews on books that can help people know what they are reading.

Me: Would you recommend this book to your friends? Why?

Dawn: I would and I have. It is a good book that has inspired me to become as strong and inspiring to so many people as Katniss Everdeen. 

Me: Are there other books on the list of the top 10 books challenged in 2011 you would like to read? Why?

Dawn: Well none of them really interest me, maybe I would read one or two of them but I love things with romance, magic, adventure and all of that great stuff. Although there is a few titles that seem interesting so I will have to check them out!
Me: Were you surprised by any of the books on the list?

Dawn: Well I have read To Kill a Mockingbird before and it is one of my favorite books, and I knew it was on the list, so I was not very surprised at seeing it. I have unfortunately not read any of the other books on the top ten list.

Me: Are there any other thoughts you would like to share about banned books?

Dawn: Banned books are banned because of other people’s opinions. Opinions should not get in the way of judging books, leading to them being ban. Don't judge a book by its cover. Just because one may not like what is in it does not mean it should be ban for others.

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on The Hunger Games and banned books. 

Don't miss this week's other Interview With a Teen posts:
Jackie on To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Wednesday 
Emma on ttyl by Lauren Myracle - Thursday 

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