**spoiler alert** It always legitimately pains me when I hear that people hated Mockingjay. You can tell me your reasonings why all the day long, and**spoiler alert** It always legitimately pains me when I hear that people hated Mockingjay. You can tell me your reasonings why all the day long, and I will still respectively disagree with you. For a long time I really wondered why I loved it so much, and others hated it. And I have come up with a couple theories. One being that a lot of people that have read this series have also read Twilight. I cannot begin to tell you how different these stories are, but still...people like to compare them. The difference is, Stephenie Meyer has created a fairytale. One that ended wrapped in a neat little bow. One that isn't realistic. And that is perfectly okay! A lot of the times I read to escape, and Twilight is a great way to escape. However, Hunger Games is not an easy escape. It is a powerful story about very hard, real things. It's a story about a young girl that has to stand up for what she believes in. She has to be brave. She is flawed, but that's what makes her relatable, because she is flawed in the right ways. There are true villians in this story. There are true heroes in this story. And this story doesn't end wrapped in a bow. And that's why I loved it. I believed in the ending. And it felt right.
Sometimes I wonder if the reason I love it so much is because I had to wait between books. I had more time to analyze the story. To think about the characters. To tell myself that the story might not end happily. That characters will die. Some will be tortured. I let myself think about these things. I had time to process and come to terms with this. Whereas, a lot of people read the series after all of the books were released and read them in a whirlwind of a few days, and yes...I can see how someone might not like the ending. It would feel abrupt. It would feel a little empty. And some might confuse that with not liking the story, and missing the intentional point that Suzanne Collins made.
This series is about war. And bravery. And it is driven by love. It's not a love story that has a war as a side story. Meaning, this story features a lot of the hard aspects of war. And in this case, kids are thrown into the mix. And it's awful. And there are many times where I literally ached for the characters. This is what I look for in a book. I want to feel it. And Mockingjay gave that to me.
I had read Hunger Games and Catching Fire many times before Mockingjay came out. I loved them. But there were things that drove me nuts about Katniss. I knew that she was a teenager, and I had to constantly remind myself of that fact, but there were many times I wanted to shake her and say, "wake up!" I was annoyed that she strung both Gale and Peeta along. I understood that she couldn't let either of them go, but it still pained me. It pained me that while she occasionally thought about the pain that she might be causing them, she mostly couldn't face the fact that she couldn't deal with not having both of them at her side. And I felt she was selfish. And I was also annoyed that she couldn't admit to herself that she loved Peeta. Maybe she didn't know at what level, but it was clear to those around her, and to the reader that she did in fact love the boy with the bread. I also felt that she didn't appreciate Peeta enough as a friend. Yes, he loved her, but I am talking actual friendship. When he would quietly do acts of service for her and her family. He was often doing things behind the scenes, giving her space...giving her the space she wanted to have with Gale. But still never leaving her side. I felt like he deserved better from her. At least more appreciation for the kindness he always showed her.
And after I read Mockingjay I understood. I finally was given the satisfaction of knowing that Katniss was madly in love with him. And she let herself believe it too. The first time I read it I rushed through the book like a mad woman. I picked up on the fact that she loved him, but I didn't take the time to really think about the words I was reading...how almost every single page is mentions how much she aches for him. It wasn't until this second read that I truly was able to appreciate the beauty and how romantic Mockingjay really is. You just have to look. For two stories we were given copious amounts of sweet Peeta moments. Moments that made us swoon, and love him and want to beat up Katniss. And then the absense of the Peeta we knew? It took the book to a completely different level for me. Suzanne Collins gave us the opportunity to miss Peeta along with Katniss. To feel the pain of losing him. To feel how much she loves him. To know the depth of her love for him. She turned Katniss into someone we could relate to. And I loved that about the story. And for once, the most swoonworthy lines of the book came from Katniss, not Peeta. And it was refreshing. Here are some of my favorites:
"It's only now that he's corrupted that I can fully appreciate the real Peeta. Even more than I would've if he'd died. The kindness, the steadiness, the warmth that had an unexpected heat behind it. Outside of Prim, my mother and Gale, how many people in this worl love me unconditionally? I think in my case, the answer may now be none. Sometimes when I am alone, I take the pearl from where it lives in my pocket and try to remember the boy with the bread, the strong arms that warded off nightmares ont he train, the kisses in the arena. To make myself put a name to the thing I've lost. But what's the use? It's gone. He's gone. Whatever existed between us is gone. All that's left is my promise to kill Snow. I tell myself this ten times a day."
" 'You're a painter. You're a baker. You like to sleep with the windows open. You never take sugar in your tea. And you always double-knot your shoelaces.' Then I dive into my tent before I do something stupid like cry."
"It's a long shot, it's suicide maybe, but I do the only thing I can think of. I lean in and kiss Peeta full on the mouth. His whole body starts shuddering, but I keep my lips pressed to his until I have to come up for air. My hands slide up his wrists to clasp his. 'Don't let him take you from me!' ... 'Stay with me.' ...His pupils contract to pinpoints, dilate again rapidly, and then turn to something resembling normalcy. 'Always,' he murmurs."
And then there is Finnick. The friendship between him and Katniss is what helped drive the story, in my opinion. He was able to be there for her and understand her when no one else could. Out of all of the friendships in this series, I always felt like theirs was the most true. Katniss equally helped him, and he equally helped her. And even though his death was abrupt, and painful, I think Suzanne Collins was able to do something that a lot of authors are too afraid to do. She was able to let go of characters to make the story more realistic. The loss of Finnick helped kindle the fire in Katniss, resulting in a more powerful story. Was it tragic? Definitely. And I still mourn him. But was his death noble? Yes.
Gale. Oh Gale. I don't know how to properly share my thoughts on this topic, but I will give it a shot. I will honestly say I never cared for the man. But that doesn't mean I haven't tried to understand the draw to him. And in a lot of ways I can understand why others have loved him. He is a strong, he is manly, and he is red-blooded. He cares for Katniss, and is her longest friend. He has protected her family, and Katniss feels she can rely on him. And I feel like he has been a great character in this story. But I have never felt that he was the one for Katniss. I went into reading these books knowing nothing about them. I didn't know which boy was the one I was supposed to root for. I just started reading. And I can honestly say that from the moment I knew about Peeta and the bread, I was a goner. I felt like him and Katniss were right for each other. But with any good book series, there has to be a bit of a love triangle.
One night I was talking with Ted, who is quite a big fan of this series and actually read them before I did, and he said something so profound, I had to kiss him for it. He said, "I never felt that there was even a love triangle. I feel like Katniss always knew in her heart that Peeta was the one for her, but she is so loyal, and loyalty is such a big part of who she is, she felt she owed it to Gale to not give up on him. She felt she owed him to be loyal to him, because he was there for her first. But when it comes to the two of them, there was never a competition for who truly had her heart."
I feel like Ted hit it right on the nail. I feel like Katniss always cared for Gale, and she cared deeply for him, but it wasn't deep enough. And she was so torn between being loyal to each of the boys, that she just didn't know what else to do but drag them each along. Selfish? Yes. But believable for a young woman? Sadly, yes.
I felt like the friendship between Katniss and Gale was fractured the moment she entered the Hunger Games. It's sad, but it's true. And as much as he wishes that things could go back to the way things were, they couldn't...because that's how life is. Sometimes horrible things happen, and you can try to start over, but you never really can. You have to just move forward. Problem was, Gale couldn't move forward. I never felt like he ever forgave Katniss completely for the faux/sorta real romance that took place in the first Hunger Games. And because of that, their friendship was rocky. And in Mockingjay I truly began to see it deteriorate.
A lot of people feel like Suzanne Collins made Gale more brutal than he really was, in order for us to understand the reason why Katniss chose Peeta in the end. But I completely disagree. I feel like he was true to the character that he was in the first book. It has been noted in the very first book, that Gale would go off on tangents about the Capitol, and for a need for rebellion. His rebellious nature was nothing new. And that doesn't make him a bad person...it's just who he was. And so when he was actually part of the rebellion, it was only natural for him to become a strong soldier. And while I didn't agree with his war tactics and views, and Katniss didn't either, that doesn't mean he wasn't a good character and person. But he wasn't right for Katniss. The more time that passed, and the more violence that Katniss witnessed, she needed someone different than Gale. And honestly, Gale would have been happier with someone a different than the person that Katniss had become.
Katniss was broken. Peeta was broken. And and that end of the book, I was broken too. I felt like I had been thrown into the ringer. And honestly, the first time around I panicked when I realized that there were only a few pages left and Peeta and Katniss still hadn't been given their happy ending. I worried they wouldn't get it. I worried I wouldn't be rewarded with what I deserved! And when I read the ending, it was bittersweet. And it was over. And I cried.
But you know what? After re-reading and knowing how it ended, the ending felt more real. And I have come to the conclusion that the ending is perfect. Suzanne Collins gave us Katniss' story. It was a horrible, painful one. But it was true. And Suzanne also gave Peeta and Katniss a gift. She gave them the chance to rebuild their lives without people watching. People, being us. The readers. They had spent two of the hardest years of their lives performing for others. Their emotions and hardest moments broadcast to the world. It was time for them to rebuild their life together. And I know that they did. This passage in the book gave me certainty that they were able to be okay in the end and finally be in love:
"You're still trying to protect me. Real or not real," he whispers. "Real," I answer. "Because that's what you and I do. Protect each other." ...more
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This book was very helpful. I recommend it to engaged couples and to ALL married couples. It helped me understand the different needs that a wife andThis book was very helpful. I recommend it to engaged couples and to ALL married couples. It helped me understand the different needs that a wife and a husband need. It also helped Ted and I become comfortable with discussing intimacy, something that may have been difficult without the help of this book. It was fantastic....more