Allie mentioned The Girl Who Was on Fire in her post about the unit she taught on The Hunger Games, and I thought it would be fun to read. It's a collection of essays from young adult authors about The Hunger Games. It's worth reading if you're a hardcore fan or if, like in Allie's case, you're planning on teaching it.
One of the themes through several of the essays is that it's not about the love story. The main conversation shouldn't center on Team Gale vs. Team Peeta. Personally, I don't feel like the conversation has centered on that, which is what these essays seem to imply. Although, I don't usually talk about them with teenage girls either, so perhaps they're having different conversations than I am! However, at the same time, several stories veered off into an argument defending Katniss's choice at the end. This annoyed me, especially since I disagree. :)
A lot of the essays focused on politics, freedom and reality TV. That's what interested me the most in the series, being able see how Collins took real issues from today's society and showed how they could turn into this crazy world of the future. That's why I love dystopian fiction. I also hate reality TV, so a whole series about how terrible the genre is makes me happy.
On that note, it reminded me of how horrified I was at the audience reaction at some of the scenes. People cheered and laughed at several violent death scenes. It was bad enough that Ryan and I actually turned to each other and said, "did that just happen???" I was appalled to be in the same theatre as these people and couldn't believe they were not only entirely missing the point, they were sadist crazy people disguised as normal human beings. It completely creeped me out. It made it seem more feasible that our society would allow something like The Hunger Games to actually happen.
While I enjoyed this, it really made me crave more academic literary criticism. I may have to take advantage of Ryan's access to a college library to check out some books along those lines. Because I don't already have a million books checked out from the public library and towering in my TBR stacks. :)