Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Movie vs. The Book: The Help

The other night, I watched the movie version of the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It really was very good, and I enjoyed watching the characters come to life.

The cast consisted of the following:

Emma Stone - Skeeter Phelan
Viola Davis - Aibileen Clark
Bryce Dallas Howard - Hilly Holbrook
*Octavia Spencer - Minny Jackson
Jessica Chastain - Celia Foote
Ahna O'Reilly - Elizabeth Leefolt

Although the movie is a little over two hours long, don't let that turn you away. Considering the novel is 451 pages, even two hours did not cover every scene. I do believe the main story line was well portrayed and engaging.

Some negatives of the movie for me were that Celia Foote's story/plot line was not fully described, and Skeeter and Stewart's relationship was brief and undeveloped. Revising each of these parts would have made the movie easier to understand for someone who had not read the book.

Overall, the movie was enjoyable and fun to watch. This movie should definitely be on your "To Watch" list!

*Won a Golden Globe Award for The Help as best supporting actress in a motion picture

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mockingjay: The Final Book of The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins
390 pages

Katniss and Peeta have survived the Hunger Games twice, but just barely. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol, and Katniss, her family, Haymitch and Gale have found refuge in District 13, which until recently everyone thought did not exist. Inspired by Katniss's golden pin, the rebels of District 13, have asked her to become their "Mockingjay" and symbol of the revolt against the Capitol. Katniss has accepted the job, but has gotten herself into something more than she can handle. The country of Panem is a full-blown war zone, and amongst the battles, she must make some of the most important decisions of her life.

The third installment of the Hunger Games books is riveting and thought-provoking, but unfortunately, it was my least favorite of the trilogy. Throughout the book, Katniss drifts in and out of consciousness and is classified by the doctors of District 13 as "mentally disoriented". This foggy atmosphere in which she lives is confusing for the reader, and not really very effective.

I was also disappointed in how the author ended the book. It ended very quickly, with little explanation and description. Like it was chopped off.  Although an epilogue is included, for me, it wasn't really enough.

I especially love the cover of this book, the mockingjay is taking flight, with the fragments of the circles floating loosely around it; it is breaking free.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Catching Fire: The Second Book of the Hunger Games

Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins
391 pages

The 74th Hunger Games victors, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have won by defying the rules and are about to embark on a journey across Panem on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour. When they return to their home of District 12, they find it not as they left it. A new Head Peacekeeper has been issued, and he has made it is top priority to tighten the security of their district. This includes keeping the electric fence charged at all times. From painful bruises to broken bones, injuries are not scare, making Katniss's mother and her medical practice the busiest in town. Conflicts arise between Katniss and Gale - one wants to stay, the other to run - and Peeta floats somewhere in between. And just when they think the worst is behind them, the entire country of Panem gets their biggest surprise yet.

Catching Fire is suspenseful, intriguing and overall, amazing. Katniss Everdeen is just as daring, and the Capitol just as cruel. Suzanne Collins has fulfilled the difficult task of making the sequel better than the first. With new characters introduced and a cliffhanger that will leave you craving for the third, you might as well just give in and read it now.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
374 pages

The country of Panem, is currently the only country residing in a futuristic North America. The cruel and harsh Capital rules over twelve poor, and small districts. To remind the districts of the rebellion some years ago, the Capital forces each district to send one girl and one boy tribute to participate in the annual Hunger Games. The Games are then a mandatory TV viewing for all other citizens. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister's place in the 74th Games, she knows it will be her death because only one tribute can survive.

Through first person, Collins takes on Katniss's voice; exposing her thoughts, feelings and struggles. She is daring, resourceful, and engaging - the perfect recipe for immediate suspense. Although this book's setting is in future times, I find myself clearly picturing the dark stuffy coal mines of District 12, the vibrant colors of the Capitol, and the haunted and enclosed quarters of the Training Center.

This book holds extreme action and is written with such clarity, beware, you might just think you're a tribute in the Games yourself.

Following The Hunger Games are two sequels: Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

The Hunger Games is a New York Times Best Seller and is currently being made into a movie coming to theaters March 23rd, 2012. Click here to watch the official trailer.