Let’s start with some honesty: We’ve never really thought highly of unofficial companion books. We just think it’s a little seedy for someone to jump onto the latest trend and make a profit simply by analyzing someone else’s original work.
So when we first heard about Lois Gresh’s The Hunger Games Companion, then realized she’s done guides on tons of popular book and film series, our initial reaction was “Meh.. that’s kind of off-putting.”
Then Lois Gresh started making herself known to much of the fandom via Twitter and often talking about her love for The Hunger Games. Our resolve weakened. She seems really nice and we believe she’s a genuine fan of the series. So maybe this will be an exciting, passionate piece from a genuine fan with REAL writing credentials?
We got excited… then we read the first two chapters.
We’ve been meaning to talk about it for a while now, but we couldn’t do it. It’s not that the first two chapters were poorly written or completely misleading. It reads a bit like a term paper, but frankly we’d much rather read a thesis on The Hunger Games than pretty much any other subject in the world. There are very few authors we’re willing to criticize, seeing as nobody would ever publish our sorry asses.
There was just ONE SENTENCE that took all those good feelings and made them go POOF!
“[This book] examines all the subjects that I find fascinating about the books, topics not covered anywhere to date on the Internet or in any other book.”
Either Lois Gresh wrote that sentence in early 2009 or she’s not very good at using the Internet.
Topics featured in The Hunger Games Companion like the Capitol vs. historically oppressive regimes, Panem vs. Ancient Rome, government control, classism, the influence of media, genetic development, and how Panem came to be have ALL been discussed in the fandom. They’re on these brilliant little things called “forums”. We don’t have them, but most other sites do. And fans talk about EVERYTHING there.
Are fans as in-depth and knowledgeable as Gresh is in her book? Doubtful, though we’ve seen some intelligent, well-researched theories on various fansites in the past. The idea that these discussion points are 100% original is a bit naive. It’s even more so when you take in the fact that some similar topics were covered in the essay collection The Girl Who Was On Fire (which we also refuse to read! We’re equally opportunity doubters.)
Like we said before: We’ve never read the book! We can’t provide a review of any sorts (though Mockingjay.net has one!) If you haven’t really read much discussion on The Hunger Games and you want to read these companion books, we’re not discouraging you from buying it.
We’re just saying you can research and talk about The Hunger Games all you want by re-reading the books and surfing the Internet.. FOR FREE.
We should totally sell this blog in book form..
The Girl With The Pearl