I’m Sorry I Volunteered As Tribute

Bad Cover Version

Earlier this week, I read this column at the Chronicle, which compared the academic job search to Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games. On the surface, I should have loved it: I write YA fiction in my spare time,* and, as part of my commitment to that element of my writing life, I read a lot of it–widely, from good to bad, and in between. I love The Hunger Games (well, at least the first two books), and I could see how the brutality of the academic job market made for some darkly humorous parallels.

But, as I read it, I felt deeply annoyed, and then unsettled and somehow angry. It wasn’t, as Rebecca Schuman pointed out, that the column was needlessly anonymous (though it was). It wasn’t that the columnist grossly mischaracterizes the leads of The Hunger Games. Katniss is the least “plucky” YA heroine ever. She’s…

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