I saw the movie before reading the book, and I was surprised by how closely they followed the original. Since they are so remarkably similar, I’ll go ahead and focus on the few differences.
The first thing I noticed was how choppy some of the writing was. I think the author was deliberately leaving out the subject of certain sentences to emphasize Katniss’ hardness and intense practicality. It was such a successful tactic that I began to wonder why the Katniss on the big screen seemed a little soft. I suppose it’s hard to portray everything that runs through a character’s mind without having a ridiculous amount of dialogue.
The second thing I noticed was that I got a little more history behind Panem, the rebellion, and details like the tessarae (rations given out for more slips submitted to the reaping bowl). As far as I can recall, the reason for the hunger games was not fully fleshed out in the film. In the book, we get a lot more information about the plight of the districts, particularly District 12. I also got to read more about the Everdeen family, which I enjoyed–especially the part about Prim and her mother being gifted apothecaries and nurses.
Finally, I learned more about Peeta’s devotion for Katniss. It’s a bummer to see her so determined to convince herself that Peeta was only playing to the audience, that Gale’s invitation to run away with her has no relational strings attached, that she’ll never get married, and that she’ll never have children. I imagine the thought of seeing little ones potentially starve to death and suffering the anxiety of the yearly reaping would be more than a mother could bear.
Here are some quotes that made me particularly sad (aside from all the children running around slaughtering each other for sport):
“Gale and I agreed that if we have to choose between dying of hunger and a bullet in the head, the bullet would be much quicker.”
“For the first time, I allow myself to truly think about the possibility that I might make it home. To fame. To wealth. To my own house in the Victor’s Village. My mother and Prim would live there with me. No more fear of hunger. A new kind of freedom. But then…what? What would my life be like on a daily basis? Most of it has been consumed with the acquisition of food. Take that away and I’m not really sure who I am, what my identity is.”