Thursday, August 26, 2010

Numb. (no spoilers)

I literally just finished reading Mockingjay about five minutes ago. In a silly attempt to use this overflow of emotions as a chance to blog something really insightful and raw, I'm finding that it's proving difficult due to the absolute mind-numbing qualities of the book.

I liked it. I mean, I hated it, but for all the reasons Suzanne Collins wanted me to. I'm happy with how it ended. If you can even say that. There is so much death and destruction and breaking down of pure, innocent people to ever truly feel happy in the "I feel good" sense, but I am happy with the book in a "this speaks in volumes I never could imagine about how our world could turn out with the wrong people in power". I feel like this trilogy painted a really realistic and believable (and frightening) picture of a world simultaneously eons ahead of ours and yet not too different in nature.

My roommate just asked me, "Did you enjoy the book?"
Before I could even think about my answer I said, "No."
He stared at me and said, "What!? But you never stopped reading it! How was it bad?"
I said, "Oh, no, it was terrific. Brilliant. Wonderful. I just didn't enjoy reading it."

I don't think this book was meant to be enjoyed. I felt like I was suffocating while I read it. It wasn't funny, comedic, even uplifting really. It lacked so many of the qualities of the first two, in suspense, in the novelty of the love story. But this final book stripped that all down to the very bare bones of war, and it was so powerful and moving and a lesson on not giving up that it was the perfect ending to the series.

I am an avid reader; I've spent my life reading novel after novel after novel, but it's rare that a book leaves me feeling this disoriented, this empowered, this confused with my empty sense of what to do with myself until the emotions die down a little bit. But at the same time, this is why I love reading. This is why I love writing. The fact that human beings can craft images and messages with words, mere words, that can have such a powerful impact on people - that is truly a talent.


I have all sorts of other things I meant to be blogging about this week, but I can't seem to recall them right now because I am imagining children dying in the streets and grafts of replacement skin being rubbed raw from bodies and being engulfed by the horrifying scent of sewage mixed with roses. I think I will take a mental day off and return to normal blogging tomorrow. I didn't put any spoilers in my entry, but if you have finished the book (or started at all) feel free to tell me how it's affected you and what you thought in the comments.

Last google search: "kayak.com"
Chipotle burritos: 17

42 comments:

Jess said...

Yes. You described the feeling perfectly. I finished 25 hours ago exactly, and I'm still not completely "here", y'know? It was just... wow.

robotamputee said...

I have to admit, I spent the last 20 pages or so crying, and prolly the next 10 minutes after I'd finished just staring out my window feeling thankful I don't live in the world she created. Still a little overwhelmed by what I've read, and certainly not happy, per se, about how it ended, but still very appreciative that it was well done and answered most of my questions. Still not my favourite in the series (that falls to Catching Fire). What about you?

Krazy_4_Kelly said...

I finished last night and felt the same way. I thought the best ending would just be for everyone to kill themselves because I cannot imagine having to live with the memories of all of this happening...

This book was so difficult and intense that every other problem I was dealing with before I started I feel like means absolutely nothing. This trilogy was just so amazing and heartbreaking.

Joslyn said...

I finished it last night and felt exactly the same way. I must say I was not only numb though but thoroughly shaken as well. I didn't know what to do with myself so I just sat in the chair for a while and kept saying, "Wow". I've had trouble finding books lately that have that kind of impact on me. For a while it seemed like everything I read left me feeling that way, but lately that's been rare. There were points where I was purely frustrated with what was going on and my sister kept asking what was wrong. I just said, "Oh this book!" I have missed being able to say that about a novel. Suzanne Collins did it again. A wonderful thought provoking, thriller of a novel.

could be anyone said...

Alright going to try to post here anonymously because I feel the need to say this and its not something I normally would talk about. (Not that you know me or anything, but its just hard)

I am really glad to hear you feel this way about the book because it disturbed the hell out of me. (in the best way possible, but still disturbed) I was worried it was just me.

Why? Well, there were a lot of disturbing things in the book and such but there was something that hit way too close for home for my liking.

Someone very close to me has struggled with mental illness--specifically delusions-- and I have actually played the "real or not real?" game with them. Like my hands were shaking through that whole Peeta hijacked storyline. Mostly because Suzanne Collins nailed it directly on the head. When it initially happens, the feelings that the person had died except worse, the irrational anger you have towards them even though you know its not their fault, how it is almost equally as hard when they start to get better as it was when they were completely gone.

I dunno. Between this and all of the disturbing imagery that you reference here, it was all a bit much for me.

I think its total genius and absolutely perfect. But, not so sure I could read it again.

Elyse said...

I felt the same ways you did. I was confused, overwhelmed, but ultimately happy about the ending. I must admit that I cried for at least a half an hour after I finished. I was heartbroken about the many deaths of many innocent people, but, as I said before, very happy. The book ended exactly as I wanted it to. After I was done crying, I sat in the dark and just thought about the book. These books changed the way I look at the world and its future. This is one of the rare books that actually leaves me thinking.

Kamie said...

I am on page 317. I can already tell this book will affect my life, and the way I think about things... and isn't that how you know you have read a great book?

beangirl1389 said...

I finished reading it in between classes, and I just sat there stunned. I wasn't happy when I finished the book, and yet I was happy for them, in a way. At moments in the book, I was like NO! and wanted to scream and cry and act like a lunatic, but good pieces of fiction will do that to you. I'm going to reread it again.

Elizabeth... said...

I just finished reading too. I feel raw and numb and overwhelmed. I have no idea how I should respond to the events I just read. Even though they came from Suzanne's mind and not from a documentary I think my reaction has been as if it was. I'm heartbroken and scared but it was such a marvellous book.

Miri Valez said...

I felt the same way about the book. I had to put it down walk around my house and go back to reading it. And after I finsihed reading it I laid down in my room and thought about it for about two hours. I've only felt this way about a series once before. The book was really good, but even thinking about it gives me a headache.

Elizabeth... said...

Oh, and there was one thing I didn't much like about the ending. I had always like the other guy better (leaving names out jic). So it wasn't as emotionally perfect for me. I wonder if anyone else had this issue?

Ariel said...

I just finished as well. I'm basically in shock. And I completely agree; it was well done, but I hated reading it, and I'm pretty disappointed in how a lot of things turned out. But I guess the point isn't for everything to be okay at the end, is it?

Joslyn said...

Elizabeth, I agree with you. I liked the other guy better so I was left feeling a bit empty about the ending.

Erin said...

I could not have described my feelings toward this book any better than you did. I didn't like that people were complaining about how Suzanne Collins made her characters, but I've come to the conclusion that maybe they were just feeling the same things as you and I were while reading it, and got confused. It really was a heartwrenching novel, but I think that's how it should have been. There was a war going on, and no war is happy, even in books. It did a good job of staying as realistic as possible, and I couldn't have imagined a better conclusion to the trilogy.

lexi said...

I feel the same. I got way too into this book, too attached to Katniss. When I knew she felt like crying, but didn't, I cried because I could. I've only cried two other times in books, both were in Harry Potter when Serious and Albus died. In the end, I had no emotion. I just set the book down and drank my tea. I honestly hated at the time. But then I realized, Suzanne wanted us to hate it. She wanted us to hate what happened the way katniss hated the Capitol. She wanted us to feel the way she did when she practically lost her best friend. And in all honesty, even though I loved peeta, I think Gale should have volunteered, but then, of course, how could they're families have any food or way of providing for themselves? To conclude this long comment, I think Suzzane Collins is a brilliant writer and even though I hated everything that happened in this book, I think everything turned out right. Or as right as it could for the messed up world that was created.(;

elfarmy17 said...

Oh my god. **resists the temptation to read the other comments** I'm still re-reading Catching Fire. I bought Mockingjay yesterday, but with school and everything I haven't even started it. School started Wednesday, and I feel swamped already, although that's an exaggeration. I haven't been spoiled yet either!
But reading your reaction...I'm waiting until the weekend to begin. Or at least tomorrow evening.

Christina said...

Are we allowed to have spoilers in the comments? I'm not sure, so I'm just putting this out there: DON'T READ THIS IF YOU'RE NOT DONE WITH THE BOOK!

Is it weird that I was hoping Cinna was alive, all the way until the last page? I thought for sure he'd show up in District 12 and surprise everyone. I also thought the book was thoroughly depressing and wish that Collins would've at least kept Finnick alive, since Annie is now a single mother! Argh.

Conger's said...

I just finished as well- I don’t think I was ready for that emotionally. I’m having a hard time when people ask me if I like it or if I liked the ending. I agree that it is something that we are not supposed to like. It was supposed to feel real, to get real emotion, a warning of sort. (Not that we will have Hunger Games or anything but that we need to be careful with war and make sure we are not feeling entitled to a better life than someone else) Over all- I think I did like it, it just takes some time to settle in.

Larangutang said...

Now I'm really excited for it to come in the mail! Ugh, hurry it up!

Julia said...

I felt exactly the same way. I loved it and i hated it. It was all so intense and so real. I finished it last night and had to spend most of today just processing it. Mostly trying to decide if i liked it. But what you said makes more sense than liking it. I didn't enjoy it, but it was brilliant.

I've gotten a few friends to start reading the books, before this one came out. And at first i was unsure if i would still recommend the series with this book at the end. But i know that i still do. Because it's and important message to understand. And this book is powerful enough to say it and say it loud.

Rachel said...

"Numb" is the best word to describe it. I finished it about forty minutes ago and... I don't even know. It was so different from the other two books; not less, just different. With the other two, if I felt like crying, I would cry. But with this one... I couldn't. There was too much.
While I can't say it's my favorite in the trilogy, I respect a book and an author that can be brave enough to write about these things and make people feel this way.

Beth said...

Thats excatly how I felt after reading it. I finished over a day ago, an I am still in a state of emotional shock.

I love that she didn't hold back. I just feel really battered.

anna said...

I was deeply disoriented as well. I'm on a trip right now from Wisconsin to Utah to go back to college, currently in a hotel in Nebraska, so reading Mockingjay in the car the whole way was kind of really intense. It brought out a slew of emotions that I didn't think it would; a lot of it had to do w/ some things that happened this summer and how I've had to deal w/ these relationships. Basically, I cried for the last 10 pages. I never cry when I read books, besides the 7th Harry Potter I never have, and crying in general just isn't me. I'd much rather spend my time laughing than crying.

So imagine this: 19 year-old girl in the lone backseat of a Subaru Outback, the rest of it crammed w/ 2 college students' belongings, crying over a book while her dad and older brother are in the front seats. Good thing I had my sunglasses.

letsxaction said...

I haven't read any of the books, although I'm planning to in the future, but I just wanted to let you know what a beautiful post this is. What you said about crafting powerful images and messages through mere words - that got me a little emotional, proving your point! Your talent.

Words, whether they be from a published novel or personal blog, can really change a person's outlook on life, and stay with them. I too have spent my life reading and I really appreciate how books have made me grow and feel. So thank you for writing such an amazing post!

herfordship said...

Alas, I am only a little more than halfway through Mockingjay, but I understand completely those feelings you described. As I read, I feel so angry over how helpless I personally feel. I want to reach out to these characters and make it all better. Fix it for them. But all I can do is sit and read through and just hope they can make it by themselves.

This trilogy reminds me of another series I've been working my way through. It's a bit of a commitment, seeing as how there's about 15 books in the series, but Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series deals with a lot of these same issues...having to deal with a society based on those who have power vs those who do not and how the young people are destined to play a role in the potential demise of their world. I can't really do the series justice...but highly recommended just the same.

kira902k said...

...can't...read...this...post.
I don't want to know any reactions! Even from the small part that I read, I now know that the ending is tragic, not happy and uplifting.
It's okay.
I'm not mad.
I'll live.
I JUST NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. *explodes*

shecaptain said...

After I finished it and my friend asked me if I liked it, all I could say is "I don't know." A few times throughout the book, I had to put it down and clear my mind. Now I'm trying to decide what to read next but I don't know how to follow up this book.

Han said...

I was ready yesterday at work during my lunch break and when I went back to work I was a bit of a mess lol. My brain was all over the place then I saw a tweet about Esther and nearly burst into tears at my desk :(

I think the love story does appear but it's right towards the end and it's skimmed over at some speed.

nicole. said...

i literally just finished the book crying and didn't know what to do with myself. it's 4 in the morning and i have no one to talk to, and everyone's asleep. i want to talk to someone about it, just to get the emotions off my chest, but you said it perfectly: "I felt like I was suffocating while I read it."
that was exactly it.

besides that point it was beautiful, tragic, consuming, and numbing. it was a great end to a great series.

appletrain said...

pretty much what you said is accurate to me too. i just. woah. i didn't know what to do with myself as i was reading it and afterwards i just wanted to dive back into the horrific world. which is so strange. it's like when i read down and out in paris and london by george orwell which is all about poverty and homelessness and the sickening nature of being at the lowest rung of the lowest ladder and yet.. i wanted to experience it. writers are amazing, truly. it WAS so different from the other two which is disorienting in itself but it was exactly what it needed to be. oh gosh. and watching each character die in its own scene ajfskglksjskdfklsdf. worse than seeing random names listed as a casualty in HP7 and THAT was gut wrenchingly heartbreaking. but THIS? holy crap.

Cassidy said...

I completely, 100% agree with your feelings about the book. My mother asked me how I liked it when I had finished, and I really just said "I don't know!" I couldn't stop thinking about it after it was over.

Madeline said...

I agree with many of your feelings, Kristina. I felt really bad while I was reading Mockingjay because I wasn't enjoying it. It wasn't really that suspenseful, and it didn't make me cry nearly as much as I was expecting. (I bawled for much of the first two books.) Also, I wasn't happy with the ending. But the book gave me a lot to think about. It's been less than 24 hours since I finished it, so I'm still processing. I'm glad I read it, though.

thatothergrace said...

I finished the book late last night, and have been in a kind of daze since. I complete agree with your thoughts and feelings. I havent been this impacted by a book in a long time.
The book was terrific. I didnt like the last page or the epiloge very much though.

Nikki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nikki said...

You've pretty much just summed up almost all of my feelings about this book. I've just finished it too, and about halfway through I had to put it down and wasn't sure I could finish. I'm not sure why it affected me SO violently, but I spent at least half the book sobbing and the other half kind of in a half-reality; kind of numb, as you said. I'm still not fully here. It was only after I finished that I could really appreciate it, because while I was reading, it was just too difficult. I'm glad that you were able to put your feelings into words, because they're very similar to mine and I just couldn't get the words out.

Lori said...

Robotamputee said s/he didn't want to love in the world Collins created, but I think the point is that we do live in that world. We (humans) just keep making the same mistakes over and over.

I'm a happy ending kind of girl. I realize that's not always going to happen,but I always want it to, and then I'm sad. So, I'm sad. I'm still not over Severus dying, so this is going to take a while.

Haley said...

SPOILERS!!!
so i just finished it too, and i totally agree with every word you typed except one thing... i was extremelly unhappy with the ending. extremelly. for one, i was team gale. nuff said. i felt like she didnt tie that loose end, i mean, its like he gets a job in district 2 and him and katniss never speak again? i also was unhappy with haymitchs ending. i think that he shouldve been more intertwined with peeta and katniss's ending. overall the ending felt very rushed. i think that the book wouldve had more power if katniss had killed herself. i mean, not every ending is "happy" right? not that this one was in any way happy.

im a big fan of last sentences though, and this one did not dissapoint!

dancingxtruffle said...

I agree that you described the feeling perfectly! I had to go eat dinner with my family right after I finished, and I'm still not sure how I made it through that dinner without sobbing. I STILL feel kind of off from reading that book...

I had originally wished Katniss to end up with the other guy, but I'm ok now with who she ended up with... I feel like all of their characters changed SOOO much in this book! Which is why I'm ok with how it ended, I guess.

sdafergu said...

I agree with you entirely in your review of Mockingjay. I can't really name any other book that deals with war and what children have to go through with war in the same way. A lot of people compare the Hunger Game series to the movie "Battle Royale", and although the movie and the first book have a similar plotline, the Hunger Game series is so much more.

Suzanne Collins' father was a soldier in the Vietnam War. I'm not sure how much you know about the Vietnam War, but you might have seen a picture of a little girl, crying and naked (napalm had burnt the clothes off of her back) running down the street. To me, the Hunger Games is an embodiment of that image, in how that little girl (Phan Thi Kim Phuc) felt so much pain from the war and how she was later used a propaganda tool for Communist Vietnam.

Stefan said...

I just finished:

I really enjoyed it. I read a lot of dark adult fantasy and I'm happy that some of it is making it down to the YA books.

I love HP but it's nice to have a book where the main character has more happen to them then some prominent secondary characters die.

Madeline said...

I finished this book this afternoon and have been in a funk all evening. This book, to put it simply, terrified me. I didn't know what to do with myself. I was so battered by the deaths and the implication that this is what we're headed to. The simple fact that this is a possible future of our species ate at me all day. While I was reading it I was so confused, about everything. Before I read the last book, which is so far removed from the first two that it shocked me, I reccommended it constantly. Now that I've finished the book, I don't reccommend it to everyone. I think there are some people who definitely can't handle this book. I myself am having a hard time. I still reccommend it to some, although I don't think I will ever read it again personally, no matter how good, thought-provoking, life-changing, and mind-altering it was.

jessica said...

I just finished this book last night. Feeling the exact way that you described. I felt empty and sad. And didn't know where to go from there.

I came back to your blog and Kayley's video, to see what you girls thought. And it reminded me that the Hunger Games is going to be made into a movie. Can you imagine Mockingjay becoming a movie? I'm such a visual person, so I like movies, but this movie I could imagine being so overwhelming. A whole theater leaves feeling this way.

I love the Hunger Games trilogy, but Mockingjay really hurt.