So I’ve done it. After days and weeks and months, it’s finally happened. I started The Hunger Games. I’ve been intrigued by the tremendous word-of-mouth and upcoming big-screen version as much as the next person, so I finally buckled down and did it – long weekends with long travel times will do that to you. So as I made my way from the Big Apple to the City of Brotherly Love (yes, I had a cheese steak during my stay, if you’re curious), I was immediately transported from the destitute and dusty fields of District 12, to the bright lights of the Capitol and finally to the dark forest where the Games are played with reckless abandon.
The vivid detail locks you in from the very start. Without giving anything away, but hopefully encouraging you pick up the book if you can, Suzanne Collins paints pictures with her words, letting our imaginations do the work. Every meal you can taste, every tree you can touch, every heartache you can feel. And while my mind is building these layers of authenticity, I can’t help but think of how I would have imagined the characters if I wasn’t already aware of who would portray them in the big-budget movie version.
It’s not Katniss with her trademarked long dark braid that I envision– it’s Jennifer Lawrence. And Peeta’s broad shoulders are undoubtedly those of Josh Hutcherson. Having been lucky enough to see the three main stars at the 2012 People’s Choice Awards, my heart skips a beat every time Gale enters the story and my mind is treated to a picture of the swoon-worthy Liam Hemsworth. But is that a bad thing? I can’t help but think I’m missing out by not being able to create their faces with my own imagination.
Two summers ago I read One Day, a book by David Nicholls, that I absolutely adored. I told everyone I knew to read it and was thrilled when I learned it would be made into a movie. While I agreed with most critics that the casting choices were off, I was still so excited to see my favorite characters come to life – and felt a little smug that I was able to enjoy the book without having Anne Hathaway in my head for 400 pages.
But you know what? Here I am loving The Hunger Games so much I’m writing a blog post about it. Envisioning the characters as the good-looking actors who play them hasn’t turned me off one bit, in fact I’m looking forward to the movie more than ever.
What do you think – would you rather read blindly or know what you’re getting into from the get-go? And while you’re at, voice your choice and tell us which upcoming book adaptation you’re most looking forward to?
1.) The Hunger Games
2.) The Perks of Being a Wallflower
3.) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
4.) The Great Gatsby