1. B wants to see the film and I won't see a film until I've read the book it's based on.
2. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about
3. I was expecting it to be utter tosh and I was in the mood for a bit of mindless nonsense.
What I didn't expect was that it would make me think, and that I would be putting it on my list of books I want my children to read*.
Clearly, on some levels, it is utter tosh. It's not great literature: you don't gasp over the quality of the writing or the perfection of the imagery, but the plot grabs and carries and, more importantly, it surprises and makes you (or at least me) think.
I raced through the first two, much as I had expected to - grabbed by the story: wanting to know, while already half-knowing (because you do, don't you?), what was going to happen, but also mildly irritated not only by the amazing lack of sensitivity and self-awareness shown by Suzanne Collins' main character, but also that she didn't go further and make more of the reality tv aspect, to show how it impacted on the viewer, to analyse what would make an entire people accept the televising of a fight to the death between children as normal, acceptable, even desirable - and then I was confounded by the third.
Because I didn't know what was going to happen. Far from it. I thought I did, and then it never came. I don't want to go into detail because I do want you to read it but I thought I'd get black and white, victory and defeat, triumphalism and dejection. Instead I got moral ambiguity, trauma and human suffering.
If my children will, as I am sure they will, play computer games and watch films in which good is good, and bad is bad, and the end always justifies the means, I am very pleased that they will also have this, just to remind them that life isn't always, or perhaps never is, like that.
*A very lengthy work in progress, starting with Beatrix Potter, A A Milne and Roald Dahl and progressing through Kenneth Grahame, Charles Kingsley, Johanna Spyri, Frances Hodgson Burnett, H Rider Haggard, JJK Rowling, Philip Pullman (and not just the Northern Lights ones), Tolkein, Captain Marryat, Elisabeth Goudge, Noel Streatfeild, E Nesbit, Ann Holm (I am David), Ian Serrailier (The Silver Sword), T H White, George Macdonald, Anna Sewell, R D Blackmore, Judith Kerr (we've started with Mog and The Tiger who came to Tea and will move on...), Rosemary Sutcliffe, Eleanor Porter (Pollyanna), Susan Coolidge, Louisa May Allcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, L M Montgomery, Mary O'Hara, Aesop, R M Ballantyne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Mapes Dodge (The Silver Skates), J Meade Faulkner, Arthur Ransome and on and on through many others that I have read and remembered or that you are going to recommend...