Books for Brats: MOCKINGJAY

Posted: March 19, 2012 in Uncategorized
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The Hunger Games (film)

The Hunger Games (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, I said I was going to review the books listed under my “Books for Brats” post, so I decided to start with MOCKINGJAY since THE HUNGER GAMES movie opens this week! Like most fans of the series, I can’t wait! 🙂

That said, of all the books, I think MOCKINGJAY was probably my favorite (or a very close second after the first book)…which is interesting, since it appears to be the least praised by fans and some of the reviews on Amazon are downright scathing.

So why did I like it? I think it has a lot to do with coming from an Army brat perspective.

MOCKINGJAY is a war story, and wars are messy, ugly things, no matter if the cause is just or not. In this final installment, the story is about so much more than Katniss or any one character…and it certainly is a lot bigger than a teenage love triangle. Beloved characters are lost, and others will never be the same.

How like…war.

Some reviewers called MOCKINGJAY “hopeless” and “absurd.” I think many who were displeased with the final book wanted a fairy tale story with a neat happily ever after ending. But wherever there is violence, death, and oppression, sometimes the best one can ask for is a let’s see if we can put the pieces back together ending. That’s real hope—“the thing with feathers that perches in the soul,” as Emily Dickinson says. It is as enduring as the Mockingjay and not easily silenced.

Suzanne Collins surely knew the nature of this tattered hope, being an Air Force brat and the daughter of a Vietnam vet. The brutal realism is what I loved about the last book—as depressing as it was at times—because it told a truth more meaningful than Gale vs. Peeta. MOCKINGJAY culminates the message of the first Hunger Games book in a powerful way: when we substitute reality-TV gladiators for real people, we numb ourselves to the ways violence affects those who must take part in it. Just ask the thousands of U.S. troops “coming home to a country that doesn’t know them.”

Thankfully, Collins stuck to her guns and gave us real characters, even when the masses were screaming for panem et circenses.


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