I've always wanted to read a book that starts and ends with an ordinary person, rather than a king or prince or some other high ranking individual. The Hunger Games fulfils that want. Katniss is an antihero character in the truest sense, because she never is able to escape who and what she is. She isn't healed by some miraculous panacea, she remains broken but determined, and while I never loved her, I respect her, which is the greatest praise any character can get. The series isn't perfect, but as a teacher, I cannot wait to teach this to my students, finally overshadowing 1984 as the post apocalyptic book of choice. It is foremost a social commentary not on Western Civilization, but on the World itself, and for that it is glorious. It is American flavoured, but Platonic bodied. It embraces human frailty, strength, horror, and cruelty, while underlining, bolding, and italicizing that without community, we cannot survive, even while our imagined borders are exploited by our collective governments to create conflict. Change is possible, but not with sacrificing everything for the future, a future we are not likely to see or share. Ultimately, Katniss and Peeta are not the main characters. Katniss narrates the nation of Panem as a mirror to the mistakes of her ancestors, our present. We are the main characters, and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games is assuredly a testament to us. As brilliant as any, as heartwrenching as many, and as uncompromising as the best, I am awed.