I'd read a few blogging friends' reviews on MOCKINGJAY, the last book in Suzanne Collins' best selling Hunger Games trilogy. I hadn't read the book yet, but I always came away with this weird feeling.
Everyone, of course, said how good it was. Many pointed out its great strengths, awesome plot twists, all without giving too much away (thank you!). But nobody raved about it.
Now that I've read MOCKINGJAY, I understand why.
This book, even more than the other books in the series, compels you to read it, but you cannot love it.
I take that back. You can love it on a certain level, appreciating everything that it is. You can spread the word to all your friends and relatives that this is a book that demands to be read.
BUT you don't close the book with a smile. You don't walk away feeling good.
After finishing MOCKINGJAY last night, I went to sleep with a headache. (Probably because of all the crying I did at the end.) And woke up this morning with a headache. Yes, MOCKINGJAY gave me a headache.
I couldn't stop reading, but it made me sad.
Sad for our human condition.
Sad for the senselessness of war.
Because even though it's fiction, there's so much of it that hits you where it hurts. War is not glorious. Death does not always make sense to us. People don't always live happily ever after.
And Collins' underlying theme seemed to be the senselessness of it all. Hopelessness.
That's why I both love and hate this book, though it's with a passionate love and hate. It reminded me of everything that's wrong with our culture, everything that's wrong with the world. And even though it ended on a (dare I say it?) positive note, there was an undercurrent of sadness and loss in the ending that was inescapable.
I'm almost upset with Suzanne Collins for making all of us suffer. Couldn't you just give us something to hold onto? But I don't think it's in her worldview to do that. (I could be wrong. I don't know Suzanne Collins' personal philosophies on life. But that's the feeling I personally took away from this series.)
For me, dandelions aren't enough. The scars run too deep.
Still, it's an excellent book. Excellent books make you feel something, and this one did. If you haven't read the series, you should. Because maybe it's good to have our hearts cut up occasionally. If anything, this sort of story reminds us of who we are, how careful we need to be with power, and how humble we need to be as human beings.
So now it's your turn. Have you read it? Thoughts and opinions? Please don't talk plot specifics just in case there are people reading the comments who haven't had a chance to read the book. I'm looking forward to reading your comments!