Magazine | August 27, 2012, Issue


Deep Hunger

In “Quidditch, It’s Not” (July 30), Andrew Stuttaford has some positive things to say about the Hunger Games trilogy, but in the end he dismisses the series as basically (shudder) “young adult” material: “The trilogy’s numerous adult devotees need to move on to more challenging fare.”

I must disagree. The initial book in the series, and the movie based on it, do tend to give that impression. However, as the story progresses through the next two volumes, it becomes a strangely and deeply moving (at least for this reader, who typically avoids fiction) study of the nature and means of cruelty, injustice, and oppression, and of the inevitable — and messy — fires of revolution that are kindled by these evils. The depiction of civil war in Mockingjay has a creepy similarity to the dispatches of new horrors coming out of Syria.

The determined and resilient (and also flawed) character of Katniss is cut from the same broad cloth as Patrick Henry and the American Revolution, the writings of Thoreau and Ed Abbey, and the Beethoven of the Third, Fifth, and Seventh Symphonies, the “Appassionata” sonata, and the “Egmont” overture. With her deprived upbringing, Katniss probably wouldn’t know “Egmont” from egg salad, but it could be her anthem.

Robert C. Michael

Fort Collins, Colo.


Andrew Stuttaford replies: It’s always good to hear that someone has really enjoyed a book, and the Hunger Games trilogy clearly did that for you. Beethoven and Patrick Henry: Any book that delivers those two to you has clearly done the trick. That said, while with a few reservations I thought that the trilogy worked well (contrary to you, I thought that its first leg — and the imaginative universe it created — was the best), I thought it worked well for its target audience. I struggle to see it as delivering much for adult readers. Yes, I’d agree that the depiction of the “messiness” of revolution had its moments, but I’d hope that should not be news to the older generation. Overall, I thought the author’s attempts to tackle some quite big issues eventually degenerated into banal and mildly irritating sermonizing. And if I want that, I’ll go to the New York Times. That said, I was also puzzled by the crossover success of the Harry Potter series, even more so, in fact, as that was aimed at an even younger set. Then again, I’m a Doctor Who fan. Who am I to judge?


Unsung Heroes

Thank you, Heather Mac Donald, for critiquing the media’s coverage of the NYPD (“The Crime Reporting You Never Read,” July 30). Seldom do we see someone defending the police so capably. I do not work in New York, but police officers everywhere are grateful.

As a police officer I have worked in the ghetto, and I have worked in one of the wealthiest areas of my state. Unfortunately my sense is that everyone hates the police until he needs them — and then still finds a way to hate them.

David Heater

Harbor Springs, Mich.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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