Friday, October 15, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

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!


  1. Amy,

    I have all three of the Hunger Games books, though I have not read them yet.

    This post reminded me of an interview I read right before Mockingjay was released. I can't remember if it has spoilers (none for Mockingjay, but maybe for Catching Fire, I don't know). Anyway, she was asked a little about writing about war and whatnot, so I thought maybe you'd like to read the interview. Not sure it's going to answer any of your questions, but here it is anyway. (Those particular questions are near the bottom.)


  2. Awesome! Thanks, Jessica. I'll check it out. :)


  3. I have the books, but I haven't read them yet. If they're going to make me sad I'm not sure if I want to read them...

  4. You're exactly right, Amy - it is by turns magnificent and gut-wrenching. Anyone who thinks they have this book figured out doesn't have anything figured out until they turn the last page.

    And I cried at the end, too.

  5. I hadn't heard of this series at all but have become aware after all the Mockingjay hype of late. I have the first one on hold at the library so I will read them and see what all the fuss is about!

  6. Okay, I just finished reading this book two days ago and I've had headaches ever since! (Okay, I did have some bad sinus stuff going on, but it's more fun to blame it on Suzanne Collins.) It made me cry, and be amazed at her plot crafting, well done story arcs and twists. But yeah, I won't read it twice. Too hard. I pretty much feel the same way you did.

  7. I had pre-ordered it, so I finished it a while ago. Yeah, definitely won't be reading it again. Heavy book, but I couldn't put it down. Maybe it all hits just a little too close to home.

  8. Your insights were extremely perceptive, and helped me verbalize my own thoughts about the book. I suppose it is because of my own worldview that I just can't love it...because I do think there are things bigger than how horrible war is...that people are more instrinsically good than instrinsically evil, and the book seemed to imply the opposite. However, I can still appreciate the book as well-crafted and important. I mean, I don't love Animal Farm, but I think the author did an amazing job making an important point. And Collins did the same thing. I just wish I could make her a happier person. ;)

  9. I'm afraid I'm one in the slow category, I've yet to pick up the series though I'd love to read them all! I've read the synopsis and wasn't interested at first but lately with all they hype I'm interested!

  10. I was almost afraid to read this post, because I've only read Hunger Games. I still need to read the other two books.

    I've heard so much about the final book, and it makes me even more curious. I appreciate a book that haunts me afterwards, and I have a feeling this is one of those books.

    Thanks for the review without any spoilers!

  11. I'm in love with all three books. No, it wasn't a happy ending, but there was no way this topic could end happily. I honestly didn't think she could end this in a way that satisfied me, but somehow she did. I think she's completely awesome!

  12. Hi again, Amy! I gave you an award this evening. Feel free to hop on over anytime!