Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mockingjay By Suzanne Collins (Will Contain Spoilers)


 I just finished Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins and so I'm in kind of a whirl of emotions as I write this post.  First of all, I honestly don't want to gratuitously pan this trilogy as so many people have been raving about it for eons. (I might be the last person to have finished reading it!) Because people are saying that they identify with it on such a personal level, I just want to make it clear, I am not dissing these people.  I believe them and respect their opinion.  And I honestly hope that some of them will post a comment explaining why they feel that way because I had a really hard time understanding the point of this series and the emotions that it's bringing up in young people.

I actually somewhat enjoyed the first book, The Hunger Games . It was different.  I love dystopian novels and so I worked my way through it connected heart and soul.  I found the world Suzanne created interesting and the whole children as gladiators theme really caught my attention and I felt that it could really make for an interesting series of books. 

I would have to say that while I found The Hunger Games gripping, I also found it pretty intense.  Especially the theme of children killing children.  Let's be honest, we live in a world where that goes on.  Whether you side for or against abortion, you have to admit, if abortion is not killing a child, it's ending the life of something that will someday turn into a child. We do that every day in the United States without blinking an eye.  It's legal to do.  Child soldiers abound in countries around the world.  Not only do armies use them, but those who claim to advocate against using them exploit them.  Street children run up and down the avenues in cities the world over.  Brazil rounds them up and kills them.  Children in the United States are routinely gunned down by their peers.  China has a one child policy that is simply Orwellian as goes against it's own culture and tradition of thousands of years which stipulates that parents need a male child to ensure they are cared for in their elderly years. Need I go on?  The book obviously resonates with cultures and people around the world. 

So I stuck valiantly with the first book even though it made me feel down and stirred up a lot of negative emotions.  Sometimes books need to do that to make points.  They stir you up and resolve with the hero's point of view in a way that makes you see the world differently.  I can go with that.

So when I finished The Hunger Games, I was hooked and looked forward to the second and third book which I bought in a kindle set at a low price.  I dived into Catching Fire with high expectations knowing that it was going to continue with the violent themes of death and revolution.  I was hoping that Katniss and Gale would lead their families and others out of their District and into the forest where they could survive the Capitol's assault on them and eventually lead the whole country to a real revolution with Katniss and Gale leading the way as child soldiers. 

Where did Katniss go in the second book?  Back into the arena.  More bloodbath, more dead children, this time the plot exploded into such chaos in my mind that I honestly can't tell you what happened.  I lived through The Hunger Games with Katniss the first time.  She took me through it, we survived.  Going back in seemed a very weak writing choice.  I wanted badly to find out what happened and so I kept reading, but I started to disconnect. I just could not take the violence.

But yet there was one more book to go.  Certainly there is always a down element in the second installment of any trilogy.  It is usually the darker of the three installments of any trilogy.  Certainly things would resolve!  Certainly Katniss would emerge victorious!  This is marketed at a Young Adult series.  Certainly there would be some kind of positive ending.

I just finished Mockingjay this afternoon.  I was absolutely dumb founded by the end of the book.  They all went to war.  This time for real.  Things got a bit interesting.  Peeta was brainwashed and tried to kill Katniss.  Interesting plot twist.  But that was the only interesting twist.  Other than that, it was violence, violence, violence, bloodshed and so many people, excuse me, CHILDREN were killed, I can't even tell you who because by that time I was skimming to find out the very end and honestly was not connected to the characters to the point that I cared.  Katniss whines and moans through the whole book and finally implodes on herself.  Should I go into the themes here?  Katniss trying to rescue Peeta from his emotionally tortured mindset.  Gale finally understanding Katniss won't choose him and just fades away somewhere.  Gale, in my humble opinion, is the only MAN in the whole book.   Katniss ends up marrying, poor, broken Peeta who somehow, amid the war and bloodshed emotionally heals and this leads me to think this could be some great societal theme that woman have to deal with today.  We go for the weak man instead of the real man? We're broken down women, destined to implode on ourselves emotionally and chose the wrong man?  No matter the underlying themes that could probably be discussed for ages, the book does actually end:  Katniss and Peeta live on in the epilogue, not happy, but survivors bearing babies of their own.  

I won't even mention the grammar mistakes on the book.  Doesn't anyone edit books anymore?

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