Elitist Hum-bug

I recently read this exchange on Facebook.

GRAD SCHOOL FRIEND 1: I have struggled through portions of this first Hunger Games book. The story is decent enough, I suppose, but the writing is trapped in the young adult mode that, unfortunately, feels all too obvious for me. I enjoy it, and I may read the sequels, but I would not have picked this up if it had not been so strongly suggested to me. Also, the present tense is a little unusual.

GRAD SCHOOL FRIEND2: Kinda like Fanta for the brain.

GSF1: It has some very compelling elements, but none feel especially new to me. It is an example of great pacing though. I’ve said that to everyone I’ve spoken to about it because it stands out so well. That’s why it’s so consumable. I don’t know, though, if I can go without reading the remaining on my completionist drive (which rears on occasion).

GSF2:I had the same problem and ended up reading them all. I think you’ll be ok with just the first one. I’m dealing with the OCD once again: book 2 of Game of Thrones.

GSF1 I won’t touch a series that isn’t complete if there is no assurance it will be.

This is the perfect example of people being unable to appreciate any kind of writing after grad school. This kind of elitist crap makes me want to scream. I, of course, will not state my love for Hunger Games to these two unappreciative readers because they will look at me and think, “This, from the girl who likes Britney Spears.”

I think it’s sad that people can’t just shut up and enjoy a good book. The whole thing about wanting it to have more depth and not so much in the Young Adult voice makes me want to scream. It’s a book for young adults. It’s supposed to be relatable to the audience that it’s intended for. Get over yourself. I swear.

I will admit that it took me a couple years from graduating to actually be able to sit down and enjoy a book, but I do think that the whole super or should I say pseudo intellectual bull just makes me want to gag. You’re not a professor at Harvard nor do you have literature training from Yale. Cut the crap. Enjoy the pacing and the teenage love story. Also, instead of hating on the young adult voice, appreciate the layers that Collins makes available the adult readers.

Never did I think I’d be so defensive over Hunger Games. Wow.

What do you think? Am I overreacting? Or is this conversation not rubbing you the wrong way?

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3 comments

  1. I’m with you. A master’s degree or a Ph.D does not make you the ultimate arbiter of literary value. I loved the books, and as an instructor, I’m thrilled when my students want to talk about The Hunger Games. Last semester in my 102 class we had a wonderful discussion about violence and war and power structures because of those books. There is a universality to the series that makes it accessible in a way that Coetzee or Conrad or even Orwell is not, and in addition to being entertaining I also felt like Collins raised some provocative questions. The series is well-written, timely, and a refreshing change of pace from the vampires and werewolves that have been hogging the YA spotlight for the past few years.

    I’m still smiling about the term “completionist drive.” That’s such a grad student thing to say. I pity people who are so wrapped up in deconstruction and critical evaluation that they can no longer appreciate a good book.

    I will say, though, that any series that gets people talking about literature has my vote.

    1. I totally agree with you. As much as I dislike the Twilight series, it has gotten kids reading and frankly that is a task. Collins does ask some amazing questions about politics, violence, entertainment, and love. Sometimes people (cough cough: grad students) need to get over themselves. Deconstructing everything is exhausting and books are supposed to be entertainment.

  2. Such snobs! My husband actually has literature training from Yale, plus an MFA. A while back we were listening to Eminem’s “8 Mile,” and he turned to me and said, “You know what? Eminem kicks John Ashbery’s ass.” So you’re not alone!

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