Wednesday, September 1, 2010
*Spoiler free, so read on!*
You all know how long I've been anticipating this book. So... where to even start! Overall, my feelings are positive. I feel closure on the series. I feel acceptance. I feel like this book has changed the way that I think about war. Which, when it comes right down to it, is what this whole series is really about. The first couple of books may have made us think that this is a love story, but by the time we've all read Mockingjay we can see what it all comes down to: the horrors and emotional impact of war. This is not a fairy tale or a happily ever after type of story. Because of that, I have to say that I didn't love this like I wanted to.
I love the first two books and I really wanted Mockingjay to be a glorious ending, Harry Potter style, where all the bad guys get their trash kicked and hope and good reign in the end, despite the losses and pains of war. Instead, Suzanne Collins paints a non-fiction picture of the realities of war in a fictional world. I described some of the things that happen in this book to Jon (who has extensively studied politics and war), and he assured me that with a few technological differences, there's nothing in this book that hasn't occurred somewhere on this planet in the last 200 years. Real war, unlike fictional war, is extremely ugly. I've read some interviews with Suzanne Collins about Mockingjay, and she's said that her purpose in writing this is to teach kids and teens about the realities of war that adults won't tell them about. And maybe she has a good point. But here's controversial question: does educating people about war (horrendous as it may be) really help prevent war? Probably. But it's not fun.
I'll be honest, this book is emotional and brutal. People you love with die. People who you thought were good with do terrible, awful things. Emotional scars will never heal. After I finished reading it, Jon found me sobbing on the couch. I'm an easy crier, but still.
Despite all that, I do feel like this is a book worth reading. I've had to take a couple of days to mourn to come to this conclusion, but I have made it here. I've been going through the book and reading a few parts again, and that helped me see hope and love in the last few pages where I missed it the first time (blame it on shock from some of the horrific events of the climax). Suzanne Collins has created a detailed and multi-layered story here. This entire series is a journey that is not for the faint-hearted, but if you read it you will come out changed.