I just finished reading Mockingjay, the last book of The Hunger Games Trilogy.
I am truly and utterly embarrassed by my last post regarding the first book.
Catching Fire, Book 2, fixed everything I felt wrong with the first.
And Mockingjay brought me to my knees.
I wonder if I should just delete the post, but maybe it’s good to have a reminder you don’t know everything.
How do I write this post… How do I put into words what I’m feeling regarding Mockingjay?
I literally JUST finished reading it. So this intense, incredible, overwhelming feeling may just be temporary. A part of me really hopes it isn’t. I hope that I don’t one day look back on this post and also feel humiliated by it.
Right now, I feel like there was me before I read Mockingjay, and then me after I read Mockingjay.
Like this novel has changed me forever.
That’s kind of embarrassing by itself. I mean I’m sure there are other books just as powerful, more so, classical works, literary works, grown up books that are more suited for the position of “the book that changed my life forever.”
But while I’m feeling what I’m feeling, I’m just gonna share it with anyone who comes across this blog, this post because I can. Because I need to get this off my chest.
For one, I was arrogant…and very stupid. Or maybe not?
As I was reading Catching Fire, I spoke with a friend who wouldn’t read Hunger Games because he feels it’s rubbish. That there are better books out there on the subject that these books address and all sorts of other judgments. I kept thinking about it, and I actually thought he had a point.
I actually started to think that yeah, this wasn’t quality writing. It was candy. And in a sense it sort of really was. It was junk food. Genre fiction, sometimes…well okay, often is junk food. Not really healthy for you, won’t make you smarter or whatever, but simply entertains and helps you escape from reality.
The Hunger Games Trilogy had this feeling. The romance, the angst, the drama, etc. There are scenes, images that tug at a reader’s heart, in this case, especially at a female reader’s heart and I felt the writer used those types of scenes a lot beyond realism. I had come to the conclusion that The Hunger Games was like Twilight for the tomgirls.
Twilight for those who despised Twilight.
And maybe, I wonder, if that’s what the writer had intended. Lure me into thinking it going to be like every other book I ever read then do something I couldn’t ever have foreseen, especially since I was expecting something else entirely.
I couldn’t stop reading. I was in total addict mode. Totally relapsed. Why?
Well, the fact almost every chapter ended with a jaw dropping cliffhanger really helped. But there was something else.
I couldn’t predict what was going to happen next. Even when I try to guess, I was always wrong.
Every single time. Wrong, wrong, WRONG.
I tried to fit the story into a formula I was used to. Into a plot pattern I thought I knew.
But each book is so different from the last. Katniss is so different, changes so much in each consecutive book.
It started to get dark. Really dark. Soon, I was starting to get scared. A part of me was terrified what would happen next. I never had that feeling before when reading. I was crying more than once. Beloved characters died. Ambitious yet noble missions failed. My hands started to literally shake near the end. I could barely turn the pages.
Remember when I talked about pushing it? I complained that The Hunger Games didn’t push it enough? Well, this book pushes it. It pushes it right off the page. The place it takes the stories…I was utterly unprepared for and overwhelmed.
At the end, I was bawling. If anyone heard me, they would have thought I was insane.
Every cliché, unrealistic, plot development I thought would take place never did.
I find myself comparing it to other stories.
For me personally, it was an ending not many people like. It was an ending that probably reflects real life more accurately.
I don’t even have words to explain what this book did…in my eyes anyways.
In most fantasy/sci-fi YA, you have heroes and heroines. They have destinies. They have goals and missions. They have enemies. Evil personified. And usually, almost always, the heroes rise up and kill the wizard or dictator or whatever the main antagonist is no matter how old the protagonist is.
And then they live happily ever after.
Not in Mockingjay.
No. Katniss is helpless. Because seventeen year olds can only do so much. Even when they’re turned into a symbol for a revolution. Even when she’s the protagonist and the plot revolves around her. Even when she tries so hard, sacrifices so much…still, she was still at the mercy of people with more power, more control. Because she was just one person. One young and unfortunate person.
And that’s reality.
….I think I understand why I feel so strongly about this book.
It has to do with the death of my mother.
This is one of the few times I read something, especially in YA fantasy/scifi fiction, that captured grieving of a loved one perfectly.
Captured death’s reality.
When mom died, I felt like my life was over. But time keeps moving forward. And there’s a part of me that feels like this shouldn’t be. I have to continue, because I don’t have a choice. The sun keeps setting and rising. The earth keeps turning. Human life continues around me.
Mockingkay’s ending chapters captured this beautifully. So real, so utterly beautifully, to the point I feel like…it helped me.
Sure, I was convinced I accepted the fact life continued with or without me and I moved on, but I haven’t really. Not really. I just shut out the world. Let the world keep going around me, while I lived in my own little reality I was in complete control over.
But the ending of Mockingjay…showed me a different way. A better way.
There are other things about it that blew me away. It showed the reality of violence, the truth that a world where life is sacrificed for the better good is not a world worth living in, no matter the reason.
Again this is hard to explain and I’m realizing this post is already so long, so unclear and so unfocused. I’m not making much sense.
It’s better if you just read the books yourselves and hopefully you’ll understand better what I’m talking about.
I’ll just end this as quickly as possible now.
Before I said my passion rekindled.
Now I say my passion has become a bonfire.
There are books I read, movies I watched, where afterwards, I knew for sure this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to create something that had this impact on another person. A story that moved a person to the extent I was moved.
But Mockingjay is a whole new level of inspiration.
I never knew you could…explore such themes in YA fantasy/sci-fi before. Not like this. And now I’m certain without a single doubt in my mind that this is what I want to do.
I want to do what this book has done.
My stories aren’t going to be cliché, shallow, superficial candy that just entertains and allows a person to escape.
Well, okay I do want to entertain and transport people to fictional worlds otherwise they’ll never stay (probably the biggest reason why mainstream and genre fiction is more popular than literary fiction). But I want to do that and change them. I want them to break down in tears and help them heal.
To give hope. But real hope, not illusion. Not a happily ever after fantasy. Hope that can be carried with them into the real world. Even if it’s YA fantasy/sci-fi. Even if it’s in the least likely of genres.
If I haven’t permanently changed as a person because of Mockingjay, I know for one I definitely changed as a writer.
And that’s pretty much what I wanted to say.
I also want to say or rather beg that everyone boycott watching The Hunger Games movie.
I want it to fail. To fail horribly.
So they don’t even think of making a Mockingjay movie.
Cause they’ll do it all wrong, just as they did The Hunger Games all wrong (look at the trailer after reading the book and you know they did it all wrong).
Some books shouldn’t be made into movies.
This is one of them.
But I’m weak and I’ll watch it anyways….cause maybe, just maybe they did get at least SOMETHING right.