Book Review- The Hunger Pains

Book: The Hunger Pains

Author: The Harvard Lampoon

Published: 2012

Publisher: Simon & Shuster, Inc.


When Kantkiss Neverclean is unwittingly volunteered to be the female contestant for the Hunger Games, she can’t believe her luck! She gets to compete for fame and glory…and her life too. Thrown into the unknown, she must now rely on her great skills as an archer (she can hit a cow at point blank range!), her mentor, and her new friend Pita, to make it through this harrowing experience and discover which of all of her boy toys she truly loves…and make it home alive. So will she make it? Who will she choose? Will she ever get President Bernette’s autograph for her mother? Find out in the raucously farcical book:  The Hunger Pains.

There is a fine line between good satire and bad. This book takes a running leap, clears that line by at least 10 feet, and lands flat on its face while laughing like an idiot (aka, the main character). Don’t get me wrong, I love a good satire and in the spirit of making the most out of this book, I read it as all good satires should be read – caffeinated, sleep-deprived, and with a steady stream of sugar coursing through my veins. None of it helped. Given that it was based off the wildly popular Hunger Games, the authors had great deal of fodder to work with. Unfortunately, it all seemed to fall flat in the end. Instead of mocking the original story they rewrote the story based off the questions “what if we make every single character a complete Neanderthal?” “What if we gave the characters stupid and sometimes unintelligently crude names?” “What if the best character in this book is a raccoon that shows up for all of two pages?” While there were some good lines in there, mostly in the form of sociopolitical jabs, they were often overshadowed by yet another brainless line directly afterwards. The characters were one-dimensional and annoying; in fact my favorite scene was when the main character was knocked out with a vase. Where a satire should be creatively snarky The Hunger Pains was painfully bland and mind-numbing to the point where I had to restrain myself from throwing the book across the room.

Maybe I expected too much, after all, this is the Harvard Lampoon. I will say it is palatable if you are looking for something to completely numb your mind after a long day of underwater basket weaving, or some other such tedious event. In fact, there are points that are almost enjoyable if you check your brain at the door and do not let anything more than air pass through the open cavity in your skull where said brain used to be. Due to this, I give it a 2 page rating; if, however, you are looking for something snarky and witty, with more intelligence than a pill bug, then move along, this is not the book you are looking for.


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