A Gorefest in Which Everyone Dies Horribly: Here's My Book Recommendation for Kids

By Delingpole, James | The Spectator, February 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

A Gorefest in Which Everyone Dies Horribly: Here's My Book Recommendation for Kids


Delingpole, James, The Spectator


One of my new hobbies as I get older is corrupting the young. I did so again the other day with a superbright, very nicely brought-up 11-year-old called Tilly.

Her mother was trying to persuade her to read Swallows And Amazons. 'No, wait, I've something much more fun, leedle girl, ' I said.

'Try this!'

The book I was recommending to her was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (shortly to be released as this year's must-see kiddie flick). It's not exactly literature. In fact it's not literature at all. But you only realise this when you've reached the increasingly feeble second and third books in the trilogy.

With the first one you're too gripped by the storyline to care.

And so it was with Tilly. (And so it had already proved with Girl, with Boy, and cousin Freya and no doubt hundreds of thousands of other kids around the world. ) The Hunger Games is the kiddie-lit equivalent of crack cocaine: whoof, one taste, and that's it - your next 24 hours are wiped out in a frenzy of page-turning.

What's so amazing about it? Well the gore, I'm sure, is part of the appeal. The Hunger Games are a gladiatorial contest in which 24 children must fight to the death over a period of weeks in a super-gigantic arena of forests, lakes, etc. When you start the book you say to yourself, 'Nah. It's never going to happen. No way in a children's book is the author going to allow 23 kids between 12 and 17 die in myriad horrid ways. . . .' But then, one by one, they do.

It's a pleasing premise. But not, it has been noted on the net, an original one. Certainly, it does seem to have rather a lot in common with the plot of Battle Royale, the cultish Japanese sci-fi novel and movie. And also, I'm told, with a story Stephen King wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman called 'The Long Walk'. Collins, however, says she's never read or seen any of this stuff and that she based it on the Theseus and the Minotaur legend, TV game shows, the Iraq war and her father's service in Vietnam.

Not that it really matters. Collins has clearly given an awful lot of thought to the mechanics of the games and some of her touches are inspired. My favourite is the Cornucopia, a zone close to where the contestants arrive in the arena (via a kind of elevator pod) containing all manner of bounty from weapons to food to medical supplies to camping equipment. Naturally the temptation is to nip in there straight away and grab what you can. Problem is, all the most brutal and confident contestants will be doing the same and when they catch you they'll kill you. That's why, in each contest, so many of the deaths take place right at the beginning. If you don't care to risk that, your other option is to take to the woods as quickly as you can, and defeat the opposition by guile and superior survival skills. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Gorefest in Which Everyone Dies Horribly: Here's My Book Recommendation for Kids
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.