My Hero Monday is an original feature (and now a link-up!) from the feminist blog The Book Hugger. In the words of its creator, Chloe, “It celebrates female heroes in our society, and promotes learning about new heroes.” My Hero Monday posts feature women both real and fictional, living and deceased.
The full link-up schedule can be found at the end of this post – and if you’d like to join next month (I strongly encourage that you do so), you can find the rules and other information here.
Hello, everyone! Once again, I’m participating in My Hero Monday. This month doesn’t have a theme; it’s a free choice month! So I chose to be UNPREDICTABLE. Because like five of my bloggy friends asked me if I’d be writing about Valkyrie Cain or Peggy Carter this month and… ha ha ha, they know me too well. (I shall definitely write MHM posts about them someday.) BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE PREDICTABLE SO I’M GOING TO SURPRISE YOU GUYS AND WRITE A POST ABOUT SUZANNE COLLINS INSTEAD. Let’s get started!
Note: You can find my previous My Hero Monday posts here.
Date of birth: August 10, 1962
Current age: 52
School(s): Indiana University, New York University
Profession: Screenwriter and author
When did I first hear about her?
Oh gosh, that was long enough ago that I don’t quite remember exactly when. 2005 or 2006, I think? So I would’ve been eight or nine. I remember that my brother and I joined a summer reading program held by a local bookstore and after reading a certain number of books, participants were allowed to choose a free book from a particular shelf of middle/YA novels.
Now I can’t even remember what I chose, but my brother picked Suzanne Collins’ Gregor the Overlander and later that summer I read it and fell in love with it and his copy has since migrated over to my Shelf of Favorite Books.
(Collins’ Underland Chronicles series isn’t as well-known as The Hunger Games, but it’s at least as good, or maybe even better. It’s a five-book middle-grade urban fantasy series about a young boy named Gregor who discovers a hidden civilization far beneath New York City. Sort of a modern-day Alice in Wonderland story, basically. They’re amazing books, and just as sad and violent as Collins’ later dystopian trilogy. You can check out a post I wrote about the series here, if you’re interested.)
What makes her one of my heroes?
Quite a few things, actually.
I admire her writing, for a start. She’s creative and I like her style. She’s a very versatile writer, too. She began her career as a writer for children’s television! That never fails to make me crack up – she worked on cutesy shows such as Little Bear and Clifford’s Puppy Days, but ALL of her novels are super-violent!
Anyway, back to the versatility thing. She can write screenplays and prose, fantasy and science fiction, children’s and middle-grade and YA. Consider me impressed! I aspire to write in more than one genre and for more than one age-audience-thingy, so Collins is a huge inspiration to me in that regard.
Suzanne Collins is an extremely successful author, and that makes her one of my heroes.
I admire Suzanne Collins because she’s a huge nerd and isn’t afraid to show it. Her Underland Chronicles and Hunger Games trilogy are both packed with loads of references to classical mythology, which she grew up reading.
I admire Suzanne Collins because even though she’s INCREDIBLY famous now, all that fame hasn’t gone to her head. I mean, obviously I don’t know her personally or anything, but she seems like a very down-to-earth person to me. For heaven’s sake, check out her official website. I giggle to myself every time I visit that site, because its design is so simple! Not flashy or anything, though she has loads of money and could totally upgrade to something SHINIER.
Suzanne Collins is one of my heroes because she writes complex, fascinating female characters. (Yay for feminism!) She is one of the few who understand the true meaning of the “strong female character” concept: Heroines need not be physically strong. The “strength” actually refers to their personalities, their story arcs, their well-written characterization.
Suzanne Collins is superb at portraying relationships between women, as well. Katniss volunteers to protect her little sister, forms an alliance with Rue, slowly learns to trust Effie Trinket and her mother, and becomes close friends with Johanna. And one of my favorite parts of rereading the Underland Chronicles is watching how the friendship between Queen Luxa and her cousin, Nerissa, gradually strengthens itself. I’m really, really not interested in reading (or watching!) stories where the lady characters spend all their time being petty and trying to put one another down. That just bores and irritates me. I’d much, much rather read women being friends! #girlpower
Suzanne Collins is awesome and I sincerely hope she writes another series, hopefully sometime soon. I’ve been a fan of her works for about ten years now and she’s one of my favorite authors EVER.
P.S. As usual, I’ve found a video relating to this month’s MHM! In this short clip, Suzanne Collins discusses the classical inspiration behind The Hunger Games: Minos, Theseus, and the labyrinth!
“I tired of constant fear, so I made a decision. Every day when I wake I tell myself that it will be my last. If you are not trying to hold on to time, you are not so afraid of losing it.”
– Gregor the Overlander
“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”
They’re already taking my future! They can’t have the things that mattered to me in the past!”
– The Hunger Games
“The Hunger Games is a reality television program. An extreme one, but that’s what it is. And while I think some of those shows can succeed on different levels, there’s also the voyeuristic thrill, watching people being humiliated or brought to tears or suffering physically. And that’s what I find very disturbing. There’s this potential for desensitizing the audience so that when they see real tragedy playing out on the news, it doesn’t have the impact it should. It all just blurs into one program.
And I think it’s very important, not just for young people but for adults, to make sure they’re making the distinction. Because the young soldiers dying in the war in Iraq, it’s not going to end at the commercial break. It’s not something fabricated, it’s not a game. It’s your life.”
“‘Allow me to translate,’ Twitchtip said, not even bothering to move. ‘She said if you don’t stop your incessant babble, that big rat sitting in the boat next to you will rip your head off.'”
– Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.”
So. Time for YOU to talk! Have you read any of Suzanne Collins’ books?! If so, what did you think of them? I’d love to know!
Be sure to check out the other My Hero Monday link-up posts!
nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel
Wrap-up by Chloe @ The Book Hugger