Sunday, July 03, 2011

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

As soon as I finished reading Catching Fire, I had to download Mockingjay.  I pity the people who read these when they first came out and had to wait for the third book.  That would have driven me crazy.

At this point in the story, the Districts are rebelling against the Capital.  The rebel forces, led by District 13, want Katniss to be their Mockingjay, a symbol of the revolution.  Their revolution is going to be televised. 

Her home is gone, the entire District 12 bombed and burned to the ground.  While she agrees to be their leader - at least in appearances - she's growing tired of being used, lied to and manipulated.  She bristles against the strict lifestyle of District 13, doesn't get along with their president and Peeta is being held hostage by the Capital. 

I couldn't put this book down.  I read all day.  I didn't even stop to eat.  I couldn't stop reading. 

Near the end, I got a little confused as they were traveling through tunnels trying to reach the President's mansion.  I was having trouble visualizing some of what was happening, but not so much trouble that I didn't still enjoy the story. 

I loved these characters so much.  Not just the main characters of Katniss and Peeta, but also Finnick and Johanna and Boggs. 

Several of my students told me they cried at the end of the book.  This had me worried, I was imagining something absolutely horrible.  The end is very sad, but it wasn't what I imagined and for that I was a little relieved.

This book is very violent -- they are fighting a revolution -- and it deals with some very heavy subject matter.  But it makes it clear why the uprising was necessary.  These people had to be taken out of power.

While this story is a fantasy about a futuristic world, it can also serve as something of a cautionary tale.  Our obsession with reality TV and contests that involve people being humiliated.  Even the parts about how the victors had to develop a talent -- it made me think of how the people on reality shows such as "Real Housewives" do things like write cook books and design handbags.  Also, something that struck me is the disparity between the wealthy and the working class people.  It's the direction in which this country is moving as the middle class disappears.  How far will it go?  Kind of scary to think about. 

Now that I've read the entire series, I'm at a loss at trying to figure out what to read next.  Whatever follows is bound to be a disappointment, and I can't think of anything similar that I might enjoy. I'm quite concerned about this at the moment. I know, what a difficult life I lead.  

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