August 31, 2010

Don't mock the Mockingjay (Spoilers, Ahoy!)

I have sent a little bit of my thoughts on Mockingjay to a few folks, but thought I would put it out here as well.  If you are one of the lucky hoards to whom I emailed recently, this will be a snoozefest.    Sorry 'about that.

For me, Collins completely and utterly delivered on Mockingjay.  I had high hopes for the ending and she did not disappoint.  In fact, I believe that Collins has elevated herself to premier author and I will be following anything else she writes here on out.  I am sold on her.  Done.

I thought it was appropriate that she ended up in District 12 and that overall,  the ending was brilliant.  It made sense with keeping Kat in character and was written in a tone that was slightly melancholy and with that usual reservation about her that ultimately carried throughout her life.  A person who has experienced such extreme loss at the hands of her own decisions should realistically not get a pitch-perfect ending because that would be trite and ultimately, undersell her experiences.   She bore full responsibility for being the Mockingjay - with all of the loss and triumph that it entailed. But mostly, the loss. 

Also, I was particularly touched with how Kat referred to her own children as "boy" and "girl".  It seemed that even in motherhood, she held her emotions in check for fear of being hurt, too invested.  Growing up in the era of Hunger Games shaped (or rather, squashed?) her maternal side and that did not change, even after peace was finally achieved and even after Peeta convinced her to have children.   It could also be argued that with losing Prim, Kat was never willing to invest of herself that much again in a child.  And who could blame her?

Ah, Peeta.....  Yes, I was on Team Peeta and yes, I loved that she ended up with him - it just made more sense to me.  He was the only person in her life who could bring her any measure of peace, I think (remember all of the rooftop scenes and "Peeta comforting her at night scenes" in Catching Fire?  They were the few moments in the entire trilogy where Katness seemed to be anything resembling "happy".)  Yes, happiness would be overstating it, but the description of "peace" fits for what Peeta could do for her. I did have more fondness with Gale this time around, but ultimately, I think he and Katniss were too much alike, both warriors both at war with their own hard edges.  She was never fully content with herself, with anything, when she was with Gale.  Even all of their times together in the woods were fraught with the background tension of them being caught or with the worry of the fence being turned on.  So, Peeta was the better fit for her.

I am not even sure where to begin with all of the ethical/moral ramifications of this series - a high school English teacher could have a field day with this.  I did appreciate Collins' portrayal of the Kat's inner dialogue and turmoil when it came to her decisions.

This series was emotionally brutal, yes brutal.  But also brilliant.  I am keeping this series and not selling it, I want my children to discover it someday as they thumb through all the other books I have kept for them.


Amanda said...

Spoiler Alert:

The part that got me...why she voted for the Hunger Games to resume with Haymitch, then assassinated Coin. I know this is a detail in the plot, but one that bothered me.

I knew she had to end up with Peeta, because she could never forgive Gale for the bombs that took Prim. Also, artists need warriors, and warriors need artists to balance one another's souls. So, yes, I think Collins go this right as well.

We need to have a book club discussion about these events and work through some of the layers. Because it was very thick with all kinds of layers.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Amanda: I thought the Collins was trying to imply that if Katniss hadn't voted for the Games, that Coin would have found a way to take her out-in fact, the whole thing was almost a setup to make sure the Mockingjay threw in her lot with Coin's presidency and outlook on post-Revolution construction (think back to what someone says to her about how she's a threat if she doesn't).

Haymitch voted with Katniss because he knew she was up to something in terms of taking Coin out, that she would never vote for the Hunger Games knowing what she had been through.

I think the books are brilliant as a trilogy-probably the best I've read since The Giver. Mockingjay is very anti-war, Hunger Games sets up the dystopian vision and Catching Fire bridges the two.

I didn't necessarily read the same thing into the "boy" and "girl" monikers as you did, Cagey. I just thought it was Katniss being general about her kids/the writing style. What I found most appalling was that her own mother abandoned her...yet again. Even knowing what she had been through for the last 7years of her life. I guess her mother assumed the relationship was semi-irreperable but shocked me that she pretty much just checked out and left her own child to her devices.

elizasmom said...

The thing that got me was how she ended up with Peeta — that, in an echo of his and Gale's conversation, she says (admits?) she chooses him because he will help her survive, and that this is why she answer "real" when he asks her if she really loves him.

Which isn't to say that she doesn't love him, after a fashion — but I do think that she is too hollowed out by all that she's experienced to truly give her whole heart — to him or to her kids.

I thought it was a brilliant ending.

Mary said...

Cagey- just a quick thank you to pointing me to this series! I loved the Twilight books and was eager to try out this series as a comparison after reading your review.
All I can say is I agree with you wholeheartedly and was COMPLETELY absorbed by this series. I haven't been this emotionally affected by a book in a very long time and this one made me weep on more than one occasion. Certainly thought provoking (if not terrifying at times). Will recommend it to friends and also try her other books.
Again, thank you!

The Gori Wife said...

I had this on my list and just got around to the series two weeks ago and then was hooked and got through them all really quickly. Then I remembered to come back here so I could re-read this post now that I know what you're talking about! Thanks for the book suggestion, it really was an enjoyable two weeks worth of commute reading :)