I finished MockingJay yesterday. The beginning of this post isn't spoilery in ruining specifics of the book. I just want to share my experience, particularly with others who have read it. If you don't like any kind of spoilery stuff, then you might not want to read this at all, but it should be safe until I warn you otherwise. About half way down :)
This book shattered my heart into a million pieces.
It gave me the hope that I could put it back together.
I cried till my eyes burned and my head ached.
I laughed and sobbed in the same breath.
It broke me.
It inspired me.
It wakened something in my soul.
It's not a book you can read and then walk away from.
It will eat into your mind.
The thoughts and ideas will haunt you, affect you, make you really think and ponder and consider things you never have.
All in a marvelous way.
I'm glad it wasn't a book with a straight-up "happily ever after" ending.
For one thing, it wouldn't have fit with the tone of the over-arching story, it wouldn't have made sense for Katniss.
The society is so rife with trouble and a terrible history that it can't be changed overnight. It can't be changed in a generation. Great strides can be made, but a complete turnaround isn't going to happen. The entire thought process of an entire civilization has to be altered. It isn't easy and Collins never tries to hide that fact.
I've heard some people say that some of the details were too explicit.
I'm reading it as an adult, so I honestly would have to go back and read it again thinking about this, but I never felt that she was gratuitous. It is a terrible period in this nation's history. Revolutions are not easy and are rarely bloodless. There is nearly always a high human cost. Collins puts a face on it so that we mourn deeply as each of them falls.
I am tearing up as I type this. The deaths of Boggs and Finnick affected me nearly as intensely as the death of Prim.
Watching the hatred eat at Gale and seeing the depravity of Peeta's hijacking made my heart ache.
This is not an easy book and it is not meant to be. If there is one thing that I have seen with Collins, whether in the Hunger Games series or in the Underland Chronicles, it is that she is not afraid to tackle these intense and deep issues. War, poverty, government control, death, loyalty, sacrifice and so many other universal themes are dealt with, but through the eyes of the individual. Whether with Katniss or Gregor we take the journey with them, we love with them, we hate with them, we struggle with them and we see how the bigger issues affect a single community, a single family, a single person.
Yet in the midst of all that pain and grief there are the beautiful gems of hope and love that make you realize that all is not lost.
The return of Prim's cat.
Peeta planting the primroses.
The birth of Finnick's child.
So I am glad that Suzanne Collins didn't take the "easy" road and wrap everything up nicely. I'm glad that she left the people in pieces, just trying to continue their life after infinite tragedy. I'm glad that I will be thinking about this book for days and months and years. That I will want to go back and read it again and again and be able to glean something new from it each time.
I am glad that a couple of years ago I discovered this little book titled The Hunger Games.