BBW: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

REASONS FOR CHALLENGES/BANNING

The Hunger Games has been on the most frequently challenged list in 2010, in the top 10 at #5. Suzanne Collins has been in the most frequently challenged authors list for 2010. Reasons for challenges? Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence.

OVERVIEW/REVIEW…beware of possible spoilers

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
ISBN-13: 9-780439-023481; October 2008; 374 pages (HC); Scholastic Press
Read my review here

The Hunger Games is one of my favourite dystopian books. The storytelling drags you in, the characterization connects you to the characters and makes you care, and the plot is such a fast-paced, hold-your-breath wild ride it’s crazy. I’ll happily recommend this book to anyone.

It doesn’t surprise me at all that it’s on this past year’s most frequently challenged list. Now, don’t get me wrong. I obviously would not ever want this book banned (or even challenged!), but it doesn’t surprise me that it is. The Hunger Games is just one of those books that you know some parents/schools/churches/etc. are going to have a problem with and want gone from schools/libraries and homes. Let’s look at the reasons for the challenges…

Sexually explicit: I’m not joking, I laughed at this one. There is no sex in the book, at all. Never do any of the characters do more than some kissing. I do not consider kissing, to be sexually explicit. Obviously kissing must offend some people’s sensibilities.

Unsuited to age group: I hate this reason for challenging a book with the intent to ban it. It’s the reason given when the person doing the challenging can’t think of anything concrete that would mean this book should be removed from public. The Hunger Games is a young adult book. Young. ADULT. This designation alone implies that the people reading this book should be mature enough to handle some less than fluffy-kitty subject matter. It’s not a book for your eight year old (unless, of course, your eight year old is mature enough to handle it. Some are), but your 13+ year old. Bookstores have age-classified sections for a reason. Librarians would know which ages the book is suitable for. This reason is a cop-out.

Violence: this is the only reason at all I will concede is a valid reason for people to challenge this book (again, not that they should. Just that I understand this reason). No bones about it, The Hunger Games is violent. Children are in an arena killing other children. It’s not a fun situation, and it’s why the book is classed as young adult, not middle grade or children. The world Suzanne Collins has created is not a happy one, and violence is rampant. But just because there is violence present is not a call to dictate what other people should read. And when you challenge with the intent to ban, that is what you are doing. Too violent for your child? Fine. Don’t let your child read it. But do not go to your school board or library and try to remove it from shelves so that others cannot read it.

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