In this smart, witty book about the entire Hunger Games trilogy, 16 young adult authors join forces to analyze the series that set one heroine on fire: Katniss Everdeen. The Girl Who Was on Fire is a collection of essays — analyses, literary criticisms that look at every aspect of the trilogy and either explain — in better words than you or I could– exactly what you were thinking when you read the books or completely change your point of view about them.
From essays like “Did the Third Book Suck?” to “The Politics of Mockingjay” to “Crime of Fashion,” the compilation covers each thematic aspect of the trilogy. It’s the perfect book to read right before or after seeing The Hunger Games movie this week. And so, I give you a sneak preview of some of the most interesting points made in this amazing book. You’ll quickly realize that if you’re a Hunger Games fan, you’re going to need to get a copy or else I’ll send you a white rose…
1. Team Katniss — Whereas many of us readers, particularly the women, focused on the Team Peeta or Team Gale romantic subplot in the series, we bypassed the more integral player: Katniss, herself. She’s a difficult character to unravel and understand. But as The Girl Who Was On Fire explains, we don’t know Katniss because she has no desire to be known. But we do know everything she does is for either her survival or her family. So we should be focusing on those aspects of the novels, not who’s the better boyfriend.
2. War and The Hunger Games — Yes, the fascination with reality television — or manufactured reality — is an obvious theme in the novels. And while we often find ourselves comparing the books to competition reality shows like Survivor, it’s also worth noting there’s a bit of actual war news mixed in. Suzanne Collins herself admitted to coming up with the concept for the books from reality TV and the war in Iraq. And what’s more — as another essay points out — virtually every character in the series suffers from PTSD, another sign of war.
3. Characters Who Mattered More Than You Think — Each author who contributed to the book seemed to have a different idea as to who fueled the rebellion. Was it Katniss? What is The Capitol for allowing Katniss to take charge? But some of the lesser characters also played crucial roles. For instance, Cinna, who made Katniss catch on fire in her bridal-gown-turned-mockingjay costume in Catching Fire. He may have made the costume, but he also defied the Capitol publicly by doing so, and quite literally turned Katniss into the mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion. There was also Gale, who another essayist points out, was always the “doer” between he and Katniss. (Even in the beginning, Gale would talk about running away from District 12. Katniss would just listen.) And he refused to give up on the rebellion, pushing it along no matter who it — or he — hurt along the way.
There’s so much more I would like to say about The Girl Who Was On Fire, but I’ll leave you with this. If you’d like to know what caused these authors to draw comparisons to Marie Antoinette, V for Vendetta, The Real World, and Ancient Rome, you should probably just get a copy.