oh. Hello, blog.
A few days ago I had a discussion with a lovely person about children's books. She dropped a serious wtf-bomb when she mentioned casually that she had never read, nor knew anything about The Hunger Games books. She's a sweet girl, but apparently the rock she lives under is both spacious and all encompassing, because I feel like dead people at least have some semblance of the plot of Hunger Games.
After reviewing the entire plot (but leaving out the good bits) she shrugged and said she just didn't really connect with childrens/young adult literature.
Believe it or not, I did not just get up and walk out of the room at that kind of egregious and failbomb-y statement. But I was slightly taken aback and a little disheartened, though it took me a few days to figure out why.
There are SO many reasons that I personally like The Hunger Games, the Margaret Atwood-y dystopian-ness, the struggle to come to terms with what romantic love is and how to react to it, the deep-seated need to provide for the ones you love...granted, we aren't really in the same place in our lives, but Katniss Everdeen is my kind of lady.
But beyond my personal preference, I love these books for what they provide to girls: A real, true-blue, honest girl hero.
As I think back to the books I read as a kid (when you pull "The Baby-Sitter's Club" weeds away) there were some amazing women. Calico Captive, Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and even the Little House in the Big Woods books, although Laura Ingalls Wilder was a big fan of rule-following. Lame.
But ALL of those books were books that my Mom also read. The world was desperately in need of some new females to carry the torch - and what did they get? Harry Potter and Twilight.
Don't get me wrong, Harry Potter is some solid business. But the girls are relegated to the sidelines and to waiting around for rescuing. Even though they seem to be the smartest ones. What kind of message is that?!
And DON'T get me started on Twilight. I could write for centuries about why Twilight is the worst thing to happen to girls and the publishing industry - if for no other reason than we have it to thank for Shades of Gray (so now women of ALL ages can read books about emotionally abused women with some sort of twisted masochistic streak...awesome).
We needed some girls who are in charge without big brothers to save the day. And I am not saying Katniss is the perfect girl. She is super flawed and kind of terrible a lot of the time, but that's a GOOD thing. Find me a male hero who doesn't have a problem with the drinking or the ladies (Jesus doesn't count).
I am glad Katniss was around to open the door and I hope, for girls (both big and small) everywhere, that there is a long parade that follows behind.