The Hunger Games

On the recommendation of a countless number of people, I read The Hunger Games.  I just finished it up on Sunday, and I’m still trying to figure out what I think of it.  Please note – spoilers will follow, so don’t read this if you want the entire book to be a surprise.

The book reminded me of Harry Potter and Twilight, in that it’s a quick, engrossing read.  You don’t want to put the book down until you find out what happens.  The language is easy to follow and fairly simplistic.  The concepts are more complicated however, as the book is about a gruesome fight-to-the-death and 1984-like government oppression.  It’s very gruesome, in point of fact.  One of the participants in the “Hunger Games” gets attacked and eaten by a pack of wild dogs that are really resurrected former Games players.  Dark.

The true thread of the story though, is the story of Katniss, the girl hunter who wows the crowd and makes everyone fall in love with her, including the fellow tribute from her home district, District 12.  This boy, Peeta, has been in love with Katniss since the age of 5, a fact that the organizers of the games choose to exploit for viewership and interest.

Despite the history and actions of Peeta over the course of the 10 years they’ve known each other, Katniss prefers to assume that he is just “acting” in order to win the games.  I can’t believe that a 16-year-old girl would be that dense.  She is conflicted by another sort of love interest, her hunting partner, Gale.  They never were anything but friends, but the faux romance with Peeta (for the benefit of the games) makes her contemplate her relationship with  Gale.

A movie is being made of the book.  I read a review/preview, and the writer was lamenting that it seems as if the love triangle (ala Team Jacob/Team Edward) was going to play center stage.  In my mind, however, that IS center stage.  The relationship between Peeta & Katniss is the main motivating force of the story.  Without that, it’s just a death match.

Which brings me to my point, that this is really a love story, which is not what I thought it was going to be.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  I love a good love story.  But, this one annoyed me.

Katniss is so mean to Peeta.  She is cold, and he is sweet and caring and self-sacrificing.  Sure, Katniss puts herself on the line to save Peeta, but it seems as if the ONLY reason she is doing it, is to survive the games.  The Gamemakers make a rule-change stating that unlike past years, this year two tributes can “win” the games, as long as they are from the same district.  Once that announcement is made, Katniss is all for playing up the romance with Peeta and taking advantage of all that means.

I really did not like Katniss very much.  Of course she will do anything for her family – she volunteered to be tribute in lieu of her sister, in fact.  However, she seems narrow-minded and harsh – disingenuous even.  And she hurts Peeta in the end.

I haven’t read books 2 or 3, so maybe things turn out all right, but I don’t seee how they can, if Katniss remains true to the character developed in the first book.

All-in-all, the book is good, especially for a young adult book.  The theme is very timely – oppression by the government and the desire to remain true to oneself in the face of that.  Those concepts are good.  I just was not a fan of Katniss, which is unfortunate, since she is the main character.  It is nice to see a strong, female lead – a girl who can take care of herself and others in her life, however.

Read it, and tell me what you think!

Turmeric Terror

I read somewhere, I don’t quite recall where, that you can make a refreshing face mask out of yogurt mixed with the spice turmeric.  Well, I was cleaning out the fridge today and found an expired container of Fage.  I scrounged around and found some turmeric from who knows when, mixed the two of them together, and presto!  Cheapo face mask.

I slathered my face in the orange paste and let it harden into the consistency of sunbaked clay over the course of 20 minutes. Then I washed my face.  Or attempted to wash my face.  The mask was pasted on.  After a lot of scrubbing, I brought my face up to the mirror, hoping, nay expecting, to see baby-soft, glowing skin.

Instead I saw screaming, angry red blotches all over my face.  In fact, there was a clear line of demarcation on my forehead where the mask stopped and the unassaulted flesh began.

My face, everywhere the mask had been, was bright, sensitive red.  Oh my god, what had I done?!

I rubbed lotion all over my face to no avail.  The heat, my God the heat!

I doused a washcloth with milk and rested it over my skin, dabbing at the injured flesh.  The milk cooled it down, but the redness was only slightly reduced.

I started thinking of reasons to call in sick to work tomorrow.  I can’t very well tell my boss, “I seared my flesh with a witch’s brew of yogurt and decades old turmeric.”

Eventually, however, the tightness and redness started to simmer down.  And now, 5 hours later, the only traces of my brush with a Phantom of the Opera-like visage, is baby soft, glowing skin.  It just took awhile.

So, lessons learned?

1.  Maybe don’t experiment with home remedies on the most obvious part of  your body.

2.  Maybe don’t leave a mask on your face to the point where you almost need a jackhammer to get it off.

3.  Eat yogurt.  Don’t put it on your face.