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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hello Pot

Why hello Pot! Let me introduce myself, I'm Kettle. I'm also apparently very adept at eating crow... Remember that post... just two posts back. You know the one I was writing from so high up on a soap box with so much distaste for the poor woman who was buying video games for her that were rated mature? That one.

Well, yesterday that could have been me. I mentioned that I didn't get much done because I was reading The Hunger Games before I gave it to Arleigh. I mentioned that it was a peacemaking move because I have been refusing to let the girls read the Twilight Series. Then I was told how much better Twilight would be for them. Then I mentioned Stephen King's quote about Twilight...

“Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.” 
 Stephen King

There was no real discussion but it made me think... am I that woman ignoring the warning about how dangerous something is for my child?

It could be that I was drunk from reading such a good book... a book that I could easily identify with the main character. At sixteen I thought I was just like Katniss Everdeen. I was moody and brooding. I thought everything that my mother did was wrong and everything that I did was right. (Let me say I had absolutely no reason to think this. Katniss has reasons. I was just acting like a turd.) For some unknown reason, the weight of the world seemed to fall on my shoulders and I was going to get out of the little town where I lived and never come back. I had no plans of marriage or children because they would just tie me down. At this point I need to say that Katniss has very real reasons to be moody and brooding, feeling the weight of the world, and a good reason for fearing marriage or children. I did not!

So this book which I clearly enjoyed and immediately wanted to hand it to Arleigh and have her read it. Arleigh has a hard time with her AR points. She would rather read news and articles than novels. I've been looking for a series that she could sink her teeth into that isn't some give your self up so that you can find the undying love of a boy book. I need her to see courage in the face of danger, choices being made to show character rather than rolling over and letting someone else deal with it or running away. I thought I had found it.

Then someone warned me about the next two books. I haven't read them yet. I will over Christmas. I'm wondering if I was so wrapped up in identifying with Katniss that I am letting too much violence seep in and inadvertently encouraging it.

So if you haven't heard of the Hunger Games series it's based on a time in the future. An evil government is now in control of North America. The nation is divided into 12 districts. There used to be 13. A rebellion caused the government to completely destroy the 13th district. In a move to demonstrate their power, the government has each district send two tributes once a year, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 decided on by a system that encourages the poorest to be entered into the lottery more than the wealthy and powerful. These tributes are groomed and trained and then dropped into an arena that is actually a harsh landscape and forced to fight to the death. Of course the terrain and dangers of the elements alone can kill them. The back of the book says that Katniss will have to "make choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love." Pretty heavy stuff but it's written in a way that Arleigh can understand the choices she is being forced to make. She can hear the kids discussing how they can keep their identity even though they are thrown into this horrible situation and expected to do horrible things. As I was reading it I was thinking about how we are forced to live in a fallen world but still we must do the right thing when everyone expects us to do something different.

I see theme parallels to talk about with the big girls. I see a strong female character who takes care of herself, learns about compassion and forgiveness. Violence is mixed in it all. Unfortunately the nightly news is also very violent here. I'm leaning toward reading it with her to discuss the choices that Katniss is forced to make and why she might be making them. I'm side stepping too because of one comment on Facebook.

So, tell me what you think. Please.....

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