Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mockingjay brilliance

It's been about 2 weeks since I've read Mockingjay.  I hesitated to write about it immediately, mainly because I wanted a little time to digest it.

Off the top, I have to say that Suzanne Collins is brilliant.  The story is brilliant.  The ending is brilliant.  The entire trilogy is brilliant.  And disturbing...very very disturbing.  This is likely why it's come under fire.  "Too violent.  Too bleak.  Too frightening for young people," or so I've read.

For my part, I couldn't agree more.  It is too violent.  It is too bleak.  It is too frightening.  Far too frightening.  And it ought to be required reading; not just for young people, but for parents, lawmakers, and especially for politicians.  The thing is, this world could easily be our own not too far down the road. The thing is that the decadence and corruption and struggles for power and the human pain and suffering in this book are so close to home that it takes my breath away...still.

Katniss is a pawn in a game that she can never win, not unlike the children of war today. She is appalled that some of the people she loves and respects do terrible things.  They hope and pray that the end will justify the means.  Katniss is appalled that she too does terrible things.  How wildly different is this from war torn countries of today and yesterday?  Ms. Collins simply imagined things on a post-apopoliptic world scale.
Her trilogy suggests that there can be no real winners in war.  There will always be someone hungry for power.  There will always be decadence and exploitation.  But Collins does leave room for hope, even if it is a slender thread.  As Katniss says, "...on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything because I'm afraid it could be taken away.  That's when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I've seen someone do. It's like a game...But there are much worse games to play."

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