The Hunger Games: “But it’s so good!”

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the novel-turned-blockbuster by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games. (If you haven’t, I’d love to know your secret for avoiding the madness.) From what I’ve gathered, it’s a big fight to the death reality show starring teenagers. See, I’ve tried reading The Hunger Games. Twice. The first go, I got through about five pages. The second, I almost finished the first chapter. I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t feel any connection with Katniss. The writing didn’t impress me. In short, I was bored by it.

A lot of people I’ve encountered lately, from friends to family to people on the Internet, have been fans of the book (and its two sequels). Upon expressing my own (rather apathetic) views on the book, I’ve been met with much the same response: “But it’s so good!” For some, that seems to be enough to convince anyone to reconsider, as if their previously formed opinions were sorely lacking this bit of insight.

But, I want to know: why is it “so good”? What about the characters do you like? What about them do you dislike? (I’m much more interested in the flaws of a character.) Do you think the plot was interesting, exciting, and engaging? These are things I want to know! If you think I’m mistaken in being bored by the books, and you feel passionately about their merits, share them with me instead of saying, “Oh, but really, they’re great!” I want reasons. I’m not saying you have to write an essay – although I would not object – but give me some reasons with some meat to them (says the vegetarian). Make me reconsider. Give me something to gnaw on and say, “Hmm, maybe I was wrong.”

While I don’t see myself attempting the book again any time soon, I’m going to give the movie a shot. Jennifer Lawrence was enjoyable in X-Men: First Class, so maybe she’s got something to bring to the table that will make me like Katniss. (Bonus: I heard Donald Sutherland was in the movie.)

As I write this, though, I remain ambivalent about The Hunger Games. Did you enjoy it? Hate it? What shaped your opinions?

And furthermore, does it take more than just “It’s so good!” to convince you to read/watch something? What do you want to hear before you invest your time into the latest pop culture phenomenon?