Okay, maybe I’m being a little overdramatic but when you have shed blood, sweat and tears over a series for a few years and have grown with the characters as I have, you earn the right to say that. So, The Hunger Games Trilogy (most recently Mockinjay) ruined my life. And most certainly these last couple of days. See, I have these need to consume the books I like that goes beyond just casual reading. I DEVOUR every word, every sentence, until I am in the book itself. And let me tell you something (oh and SPOILER ALERT, by the way. Just so you know.) I was in the streets of the capitol. I was in the districts, I was in that BARRICADE WHEN PRIM DIED. And I too, like Katniss became a fire mutt. We grieved together and felt despair together and we felt bloodthirsty when we killed Coin, because that was the right thing to do. The final thing. Not only have I been consumed by the book but there are many things that are suffering as a result of this horrible (I mean amazing, really) novel. I have not once studied for the Chemistry test I have in two weeks, I have not done the amount of First Inkling work that I should be doing, and most importantly I have not slept. I have been up reading this book. Now, at this point you must be thinking well, if she has spent all this time reading, why didn’t she finish in a day? Because! Because, I read and consume at such a rate that I absorb everything and take it in which basically means that I’m very slow at reading, sort of. I did read the last one hundred and fifty pages in less than six hours, which I deem as an accomplishment thank you very much. Plus, I’m exaggerating a bit. I wasn’t able to read as much as I wanted to these last few days and was not feeling very motivated the first quarter of the book. But then like one Katniss’ arrows I soared through it. (how do you like that crappy metaphor? Or is it simile? At this point I’m too tired to think about it.) And I finished it and was left to the utter destruction, like the ruins of District 12. It devastated me. Even if the ending was slightly uplifting (YAY! PEETA AND KATNISS BABIES!) I still felt like there was this world-weary weight that Katniss had on her shoulders that was so much different than the epilogue in Harry Potter. (GASP, YOU JUST TALKED ABOUT THE HUNGER GAMES AND HARRY POTTER IN THE SAME SENTENCE. And of course, here goes the discussion? Which is better? Duh, neither. They are different. But that is a whole ‘nother blog, honey, and I am not equipped to dealing with that at the moment.) By the way, can you tell that I’ve had like 20 cups of soda? The better it is to deal with the anguish this book has left me in. So, back to that. Katniss was just left behind. By her mother, Gale, and Peeta was the only one who stayed. I do like the reality of the Peeta V. Gale debate. That because it was basically Gale’s idea that killed Prim, Katniss could never really choose him and then the idea that they were too alike, too much fire. Peeta was the calming force she needed. Lovely.
The whole book was utterly fantastic. I wish, as usual, that there was more sane Peeta later. More caring Peeta, where we the readers realize he’s not buckets o’ crazy. But he kind of just fades out of that and then suddenly tries to stop Katniss from killing herself. I don’t know, it just didn’t work for me. But oh well. I did enjoy it though. Definitely, one of the top books that I’ve read which enters me into the beginning of a rant that will probably be a whole different blog so here we go:
YA FICTION CAN BE GOOD FICTION. REPEAT AFTER ME: YA FICTION CAN BE GOOD FICTION. IT CAN BE GOOD LITERATURE. NOT ALL, BUT SOME. Like freaking Harry Potter, and the Hunger Games, and If I Stay, Before I Fall, Paper Towns, etc. etc. It’s possible. One does not have to write for the ages of 32 and older to write good fiction or literature or whatever. Because I have just read a story that I believe to be EPIC in every way shape and form and it’s so damn good that someone should really try to debate that with me now. It can’t be done. It’s awesome, and that’s that.
Collins has done what masterminds can only do. She has created a universe that is believable, and terrifying. It’s not out of the realm of possiblity and she makes some HUGE statements about society in the books that I am too tired to find but they go along the lines of calling the people in the past (us) morons for using up the world so that the future has nothing. Oh yeah, and bombing the hell out of each other and developing weapons that blow humanity off the map and force them to battle it out in the shape of the Hunger Games. She also creates characters we can relate too. Katniss volunteers for a death mission for her sister, Peeta has a crush on a girl, love is death with these two, you know the drill. But we like them. Haymitch has some many issues we lose count, Gale has a grudge but is the bad boy. They are archetypal in a way and so present that we eat them up and become them, as I did. We root for them, cry for them (and with them) and fight alongside them. All this wouldn’t be possible if Collins wasn’t skilled.
Her language is terse, her descriptions to the point but we have all the information we need to consume the story and to like it. Katniss is real in her observations. She only reports what she sees and feels and her language isn’t above what a seventeen, slighty educated teenager from a poor District would know. And that is what helps make it all believable.
As for the other characters, God. Who cannot resist Finnick? He’s so endearing, so smart, so awesome, with a soul and a love so deep that we are tying knots ourselves over Annie. And Boggs, who became my favorite character. He’s the father figure, the only one besides maybe Cinna and Haymitch who knew anything about what he was talking about and was actually genuine. And he died too! Who was more sincere than Prim? Died trying to save children, her age, maybe older from the bombings of the district that was supposed to be her refuge.
What a story, what storytelling. What a game. Yes, a game. The novels, like the games they depict, were deeply psychological, suspenseful, and horrible. Yet you were engrossed, as you were standing out in the square in your district watching the tributes fight for their lives. We love that, don’t we? Stories of survival? And maybe that’s why Katniss (Harry too) is such a powerful character. She’s a survivor. Maybe our own lives aren’t faced with looming Hunger Games and battles to the death but something a little more mundane but just as frightening. Katniss can do it, and play out the role, so why can’t we? Don’t they say, act it if you don’t know how to go on? Fake it till you make it? Katniss did, didn’t she? So we can too. This is why these types of books, EPIC books with strong messages that are obvious and some not so obvious are so important to young readers and even older ones. I’m nineteen, and I will be twenty in two weeks and this book spoke to me more than some of the classics I’ve read. So what does that tell you? That our zeitgeist has become dystopians and heroines and battles? Maybe? But aren’t was all fighting something more so now than ever? Each other, illness, financial problems, home problems, self-esteem issues, the list goes on. So to have a heroine who shows the reality of facing such issues and makes it through, can be extremely important in development. And of course, finding a good book to read may be the most important thing a child, young person, or adult may do. A good book opens up so much in life. It leads to other good books, other opportunities, knowledge and culture. It helps you also, to survive in a way. My week was hectic enough, did I need to read this book and stay up to the wee hours of the morning to finish it and write a blog about it? No, but I did. Because it affected me greatly and helped me get through the week. I woke up in the morning knowing I had to find out what happened to Katniss, the other victors, her friends and family. Who ended the war? Who survived?
There’s a military saying, “Embrace the suck”. When things well, suck, I do just that. And sometimes you need something to help you along your way. I try to go the healthiest option although sometimes I turn to chocolate, but I find a good book, writing, or TV show helps. Because I’m trying to become more well read and trying to read every book I can, I turned to reading. It helped. I did indeed embrace something.
So, what I guess I’m saying is that this book did not ruin my life. It seemed maybe that way as a joke. But no, in fact it did not. It helped, greatly. I furthered my goal of reading a book a week (I sort of changed that to a book in a week and a few days but eventually I’ll fix it.) and I got through a busy week. I am glad I spent my time with the characters. It had been setting on my bookshelf since it came out and since I have the horrible habit of starting books I know I will love and never finishing them, I knew I had to read it eventually, I just didn’t want to let it go.
I’m advocating here for people to find the books that ruined their lives (not really of course, but you get my gist). Get reading. Even if it’s not a classic, find something that will help. I tell the girls I tutor all the time. Find a book that interests you and the reading, enjoying reading, vocabulary, and comprehension will all come. I know this from experience. So, go for it. Read the Hunger Games trilogy if you want. It comes, highly recommended. It will probably ruin your life. You won’t sleep, do your school work and may eat nothing but bread and water, which is what was regulated to the tributes during the Games if they were lucky. But just remember one thing:
The Odds Will Always Be In Your Favor.