The Hunger Games

“The Hunger Games,” is a trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins, which take place at an unspecified time in North America’s future. Her heroine, Katniss Everdeen, lives in one of twelve numbered districts dominated by a decadent, exploitative central city called the Capitol. Every year, two children from each district are drafted by lottery to compete in a televised gladiatorial contest, the Hunger Games, which are held in a huge outdoor arena. The winner is the last child left alive.

--The New Yorker

There's a reason I've been drawn to this trilogy lately.  Okay, so it may be a stretch to liken commercial producers to the "decadent, exploitative" Capitol.  And, yes, this blog, where I chronicle the ups and downs of trying to develop a musical in NYC when you are an unknown isn't quite a "televised gladiatorial contest."  And, it's true that I won't literally die if I fail to bring Helen to Broadway in this lifetime. But, let me tell you, it often feels like I'm a contestant in the Hunger Games these days.  And even though I'm a 37-year old woman, I still need a heroine to look up to---and I've found her in 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen

 

Unlike all the popular leading ladies of late, this is a young woman with REAL problems. Survival, first and foremost. In Katniss' world, there is no place for pithy talk of material goods, gossip, boyfriends; not a word about teenage angst or lingering, swoony glances across a room; she is focused on one thing and one thing only: keeping her loved ones alive. It's so damned refreshing!

Part of the reason why this "girl who was on fire" appeals so much to me is that she has—even if she doesn't know it at first—so many of the qualities I admire most in women: strength, resilience, intelligence, independence, self-awareness. More importantly, she is NOT perfect. At all. She struggles with the weight of overwhelming responsibility, second-guesses her actions, self-defensively pushes away her emotions...She is real and raw. And she has stayed with me long after I finished what I hope to be, the final words of her story.

On behalf of women who appreciate strong, respectable, role model-worthy female characters, thank you Suzanne Collins for your wonderful work!

I've just got to second Kara Warner, of MTV.com (yes, I did just reference The New Yorker and MTV.com in the same blog).  I honestly don't think I would have gotten through the past month without having Katniss' struggles and perseverance in the back of my mind.  Silly?  Yes.  But, if I can find refuge in a fictional young-adult chapter book character, it reminds me why it is important to bring my story to life, whether it be through Helen on 86th St. or through my blog.  Because by chronicling my struggles and survival tactics, I just might be providing the refuge and comfort that others need to move forward.

Learn more about the book here.