Living with a Peeta-file, Part I

I took my son to the midnight showing of The Hunger Games the day it opened. So many people were wrapped around the building that they had to show it on two screens. In my small community, that’s pretty amazing. But I guess we’re just a reflection of what was going on in the big cities.

A group of smiling girls dragged my son into their part of the line. And while he still claims to hold to the belief that girls are strange, he didn’t fight them too hard.

I was ambivalent going into the movie. Most adaptations fail, in my opinion, to capture the essence of a book. And this book was so very good that the thought of seeing it ruined before my eyes, larger than life, left me with butterflies in my stomach.

When the lights finally went down, people cheered. The spectacle we’d waited so long to see was finally here. As the opening frames lit up the screen, their screams got louder, then died away. And the further we got into the story, the more I felt embarrassed by our exuberance. This wasn’t a rom-com, lighthearted flick. Children die on the screen. It’s not the sort of film you can walk away from without being moved.

Over spring break, Drew tore through the next two books. I warned him that I was depressed for a week after reading Mockingjay. But of course that didn’t stop him. Some things you just have to discover for yourself.

I don’t know if I’ll watch the sequels. I LOVE The Hunger Games. And I think they did an incredible job making it into a movie. I highly recommend it. I enjoyed Catching Fire, though I still have a major hang-up with them returning to the games. But Mockingjay? I don’t know if I could ever read it again, let alone watch it unfold in all its horror onscreen. Though maybe a watered-down theatrical version would leave me less disturbed.

My son and I have had some pretty in-depth conversations because of these stories, about right and wrong, choice and sacrifice. That, I think, is what sets this trilogy apart. All those layers to chew on.

And once we’re done discussing the “heavy” stuff, there’s always the endless debate: Team Gale or Team Peeta? I loved Gale from the opening pages, had my heart torn out by him in the final chapters. My son thinks Peeta is a much better character, (though that might have more to do with projecting himself into Peeta’s role since, y’ know, he winds up with the kick-ass heroine).