Yesterday our daughter and I were sitting down having coffee with my parents. Dad’s always been a fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy, as are both of our kids.
It was recently our son’s birthday, and since I knew that he didn’t have a paperback set of The Hunger Games books, we decided to give him a boxed set for his birthday. My parents also thought that our son would like some books, so our daughter provided (or thought she’d provided) my Dad with a list of suitable books, finishing up by carefully saying “And don’t get him The Hunger Games, because Mum and Dad have already got them.” Sadly, Grandad wasn’t wearing his hearing aids…
Fortunately, Dad was really excited to tell me that he’d purchased Catching Fire and Mockingly for our son, (he hadn’t been able to find The Hunger Games) and I was able to explain that we’d already bought them, and in fact that neatly wrapped present on the table, was actually them. Our daughter suggested that “You really need to wear your hearing aids Grandad!” Mum and Dad then supplied our son with a different present.
Being a fan of Sci-fi and Fantasy, Dad then decided he’d read the two he’d bought, so he began The Hunger Games trilogy by reading Catching Fire. At the age of 81, and still culturally accustomed to somewhat stereotypical genderised roles, it took about five chapters for Dad to realise that Katniss wasn’t a boy (she was hunting!), and that she and Gale weren’t gay.
At that point I nearly spat my latte across the table. After we’d recovered from the ensuing hilarity, our daughter suggested that reading Book 1 would probably have helped set the scene a little more thoroughly. I found it hilarious that he hadn’t turned a hair at the idea of two male characters having a relationship, but couldn’t quite get his head around the idea of a girl hunting – despite the fact that his own daughter (me) has spent half her life fire fighting and jumping off cliffs attached to ropes.
So, my advice? Read Book 1 first. 🙂