Friday Five: Mockingjay Edition

Apologies for the twice-in-one-week Mockingjay posts, but I just can’t help myself. First, I should say that definite spoilers will be found below. If you haven’t finished reading, please skip this post for now.

Originally I was going to write a bona fide review, but frankly, I suck at reviews. Especially with this book, one that I’ve been anticipating with excitement that’s hard to verbalize, and especially because my thoughts about it are still a bit of a jumbled mess. So, I’m sorting my Mockingjay opinions into talking points in a Friday Five post.

First, let me start by saying that for the last two days every chance I’ve gotten I’ve pretty much been doing this:

Again, SPOILERS BELOW!!!

#1 – Overall, I loved Mockingjay. While I was reading, it was all I could do NOT to flip to the last few pages to see how it ended. Now that I’ve finished reading the book, I’ve read several reviews of differing opinions, all with valid points. Clearly, Mockingjay means different things to different people, and different life experiences seem to weigh in on a lot of the reviews I’ve read. Some hated the violence, others found in realistic. Some hated the ending, many found it poignant. To me, none of that matters as much as the fact that readers all over the country are excited about a (YA!) book. Three people stood in line with me at Borders on Tuesday when I bought my copy. I smiled when I realized all three had their own Mockingjay books in hand.

#2 – Now, to get into more of the specifics! I loved the realism of Mockingjay. Katniss and Peeta somehow managed to make it through TWO Hunger Games, and in the aftermath took very authentic journeys through post traumatic stress. The nightmares, the anger, the confusion, the depression… they never seemed to fit back into the lives they led before the Games. Had Collins chosen to make them super heroes, rising above the ashes, overcoming whatever was thrown their way with grace and ease, I would have been sorely disappointed. The Hunger Games Trilogy is about normal kids who are effected by an oppressive government and unparalleled violence. To show Katniss, Peeta, and even Gale, as mightier than all their adversaries would have been a disservice to the series.

#3 – I loved the subtle romance in Mockingjay. Gale, coming into Katniss’s hospital room after the choking incident and brushing his fingers over her bruises. Katniss, kissing Peeta underground because it’s the only way she knows to show him things are real. Gale, coming to the realization that Katniss is only truly invested in him when he’s hurting. Finnick and Annie. One of Peeta’s final lines, “You love me. Real or not real?” Though I longed for more, I thought Collins handled the romance quite well, especially considering the horrific situations her characters found themselves in the midst of.

#4 – I very much enjoyed learning more about District 13. The way it paralleled what had been happening with the Capital, controlling citizens, regulating food, the domineering President Coin. I thought the way Collin’s initially presented 13 as a new sort of utopia was quite genius, especially considering 13 turned out to be exactly what the rebels were fighting against all along.

#5 – And here’s what I didn’t like… my one and only major gripe with Mockingjay: Katniss didn’t seem to make a choice about who she would spend her future with. Sure, she ended up with Peeta, the boy with the bread, the boy she was destined to be with all along, but I’m not entirely convinced she picked him. He almost seemed like the default; Gale disappeared, Katniss was in the midst of a major depression, and Peeta was just… there. Willing to pick up the pieces, willing to save Katniss once more. While I was reading, I kept thinking of the worst case scenarios for the ending of the book. First, it was that either Gale or Peeta died, leaving Katniss with whoever was leftover. Then, it was that Katniss didn’t pick either, and rode off into the sunset all alone. Then, I decided that the very worst thing that could happen was that the book would end with Katniss’s death and she would never have the opportunity to choose. The reality… I’m not sure if it’s better or worse than my worst case scenarios. It just seemed… to easy. Yes, I’m glad Peeta and Katniss ended up together, but I wish truly Katniss would have been more proactive in her choice.

And there it is, my Friday Five breakdown of Mockingjay. Let me know what you thought of the book in the comments… agree with my thoughts? Disagree? I’d love to hear your opinion!

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