Because I do book reviews primarily of children’s literature (see my book review blog at http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolbookreview/ ), I am often asked what my opinions of variou books are by parents who are concerned about what their children read. Unfortunately, I just don’t have time to read every book, or, for that matter, every good book. And the more I read, I am deciding that it just isn’t worthwhile wasting my time reading bad books just to see what they are like when there are so many good books.
For example, when the Harry Potter craze was in full swing, I bought the first volume, and reading it confirmed all the negative opinions that I had heard about it. Later, someone sent me a copy of one of the “Series of Unfortunate Events” books by “Lemony Snickett,” and I found that it was just about as bad as what others told me it was. So I chose not to read any of Phillip Pulliam’s books simply because I did not want to support his anti-Christian atheism.
More recently, I was asked about the “Hunger Games” books, about which there was much hype when a movie was made from one of them. For instance “Ellyn” wrote me, “Thanks, Wayne, for the list of sources. I really like your blog and have used it! Keep reading and reviewing, especially young adult stuff, that is where I get nervous. What do you think of the Hunger games books? Or anyone else?? Heard some people reading them don’t know whether they are appropriate for my 15 yo son. Thanks!” And “Katie” wrote, saying, “Yes~ thanks, Wayne, for the good work! Having some voracious readers in our home, I can use all the help I can get, finding good material. I’m interested, also, to hear a review/opinion of the ‘Hunger Games’ books.”
Well, to be honest, I had not heard of these books until I began to see advertisements for the movie. Right about this same time, I was attending a homeschooling conference in St. Louis, MO, and was talking to a friend of mine who operates a “family library” to provide godly books from a Biblical worldview for people, so I asked him if he had heard of the Hunger Games books, and he said that he hadn’t either until he began seeing the movie advertisements.
However, never fear. Thankfull, there are other people who can provide the needed information. “Carrie” responded to the request by saying, “My husband has read the books and published a review of The Hunger Games on his website:
http://sojournersandpilgrims.com/tag/hunger-games/ . We, as a family do not reccommend these books. I would be interested to know what opinions others have, as our opinion about these books is not a popular opinion.”
Here is the review:
What About Your Twelve Year Old?
6 March, 2012
Have you ever used the phrase, “enough is enough”? If you have uttered those words, when? I must confess, I have recently found my heart hurting and have to shout enough is enough!
My dilemma, you see, comes from a recent series of ‘best seller’ books that is sweeping the tween and teen world along with many adults. Reviews for these books use words such as thrilling, engaging, a must read, a fantastic book with a wonderfully creative plot.
Cautious, responsible parents will even be encouraged by reviews such as: “This will be a terrific discussion starter for middle-school literature groups, in which students will quickly make fruitful connections to our own society.” (www.commonsensemedia.org)
Hurray! A great book for my child. Wait!!!
With the same breath, on the same website, we read this…
Violence: Torture and deaths of many important supporting characters, with limbs blown off, faces/bodies melting, and necks broken by frightening beasts hunting them in sewers. Lots of weapon use, both in combat and for hunting. Constant sense of danger and peril. Bombings with many casualties — even hospitals and large groups of children aren’t spared.
Drinking, drugs, & smoking: Lots of a drug called “morphling” — which has the same effects as morphine — is given out to sick patients, including main characters; some become addicted to it. Haymitch is a recovering alcoholic at the beginning of the book, but only because alcohol isn’t allowed in District 13. He’s back to drinking heavily when he leaves.
This is only the tip of the iceberg of what our children have to look forward to when they read The Hunger Games. Do we really believe this is how our children will make ‘fruitful connections to our own society’? I don’t like rotten fruit, it makes me sick!
We must wake up to the hypocrisy of the world. Our society tells its children to “say no to drugs” while encouraging reading about excessive drug and alcohol use and says “it’s just a book, it’s not real”. It goes on campaigns against bullying and violence against women while it shouts hurray for a sixteen year old heroine whose only goal in life is to find revenge through murder.
The author of the Hunger Games presents a world of suffering and pain to the point that the only way of escape is alcohol, drugs, or suicide. And our eleven and twelve year olds are eating it up like candy! And we parents sit back and wonder what affects the high teen suicide rates in this country.
Shame on us for allowing this to happen without speaking a word of common sense or, more than that, a word of godly sense.
Speaking of the evil men speak, Jesus says “…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” (Mt 12.34b-35)
Jesus was right; we become a product of what we feed our minds.
God and His word is the source of hope, happiness, blessings, and eternal life. The world is the author of misery, murder, and the loss of all hope.
I ask you…what is your twelve year old reading? What are they feeding their minds?
“Carrie” added, “BTW, I should have mentioned that after finishing the series, my husband had terrible nightmares and could not get the evil from these books out of his head. It haunted him for days. I don’t think our children and teens need those images in their heads.”
(More to follow.)