A book that makes you question your very existence and the fragility of your life, is a book you need to read.
Where was I? I was nothing and I was nowhere. I was ripped to shreds. Once again I couldn’t quite guess the plot. I knew what was going on but when I read this book it was like a bomb went off in my head and amidst all the action, the conversations, and the silence there was the sheer over everything. It made things glossy, it made it seem real but unreal. And there was a constant ringing in my ears, the high pitched hum of sound.
And I couldn’t stop reading the book. I needed to see how it ended, I needed relief, I needed to resist the urge to throw up. Some of those twists and turns, the ones I didn’t see, and couldn’t understand at the time, were not good for me. Throwing me out of sorts with myself.
And here I am trying to convince myself it’s just a book. But no, everything feels like it’s happening right before your eyes. Everything seems too real, too brutal, too twisted and corrupted.
Again, trying not to give away the plot, but the basic military style plot is pretty see through. It’s obvious that even though Katniss isn’t the Capitol’s pawn anymore, she’s District 13’s pawn. Things are better there, but a lot more uniform, a lot more controlled. And Katniss is a natural rebel, she’s not going to conform, even if it does make life simple, and livable.
The big question of course is who she will end up with, Gale or Peeta. And the answer is simple, who can she not survive without? It’s not a question of love, because this is not a love story. It’s a question of self preservation. Who she needs more. And it’s clear that she’s losing her mind, that all the characters are losing it in some way. Somehow, when you take away the game, and make the game real, it actually has a perverse affect on people.
And nobody here is really safe. It goes back to my thoughts that nobody is safe, that if you think you’re safe you’re not.
And it’s true. When it’s over there’s a dull ache in my stomach. My brain is messed up. My niece comes upstairs. “Are you finished with the Hunger Games yet?” I don’t feel done. I shake my head yes, completely consumed with shock, with emptiness, with bland emotions that I’m not used to. She says, “Do you recommend it?” My answer, the only one I can think of at the time is, “I don’t know.” And I really don’t know if she should read that book. I realize she hasn’t had a great life herself, but she’s 16, the same age at Katniss during the 74th Hunger Games. I don’t know what to tell her to prepare her for that kind of a book.
I went online, I saw my crit partner Natasha. I asked her how long it took her to finish the books. “About a week.” and I stare at the screen. “Me too.” I echo. We pause, I don’t want to offer up an opinion. She finally asks what I thought. Again, first instincts are taking over when I say, “I feel sorry for the people who don’t read the book before they see the movie. Really, really sorry for those people.”
And it’s true. If you’re one of those, “I’ll just see the movie” people, read the book first. Seeing the movie might actually make you vomit. It might make you want to impale yourself with something sharp. Be warned, emotions will range, but you won’t think it’s stupid. You’ll walk out of that theatre completely changed.
Those of us who have read the book will be saved from living through it on screen, vivid, not just strings of words that create pictures, but real pictures, real images. We’ll be reliving it, prepared for what’s next, watching for the changes the movie makers made to it. See if they put a happier spin on it just for the sake of the movie goers.
I’ll know in the back of my head I’ll be screaming No! if they do that, but it is what it is, and they will do what they want.
A few hours later, after trying to work and being somewhat successful, I curl up on the couch and try to read the next book I need to review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I can’t even force myself to read it though, dreading every word, dreading every twist and turn in the plot.
Instead I send the kids to bed. I don’t turn the television on. I lock the dogs in their kennel. I shut off the lights. I pad over to the couch chair and curl myself into a ball. And I just start sobbing.
About 45 minutes later my husband comes out of the bedroom . . . forces me to go to bed . . . and in his arms, no more nightmares. It’s over. I can move on, read something else, let it go.
But will I ever forget how it affected me? Probably not.