book response: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2010)


Mockingjay
Mockingjay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My eldest really wanted me to share this world of Suzanne Collins with her, so she had put her name on the long reserves for this series so she could read them, The Hunger Games trilogy, then give them to me to read. This last book was a better read for me than the previous one. As I wrote previously, Collins is not Tolstoy, and the voice of a teenaged girl is so foreign to me, but I liked Mockingjay better than Catching Fire. The morass of the teenaged girl's inner world is still there to wade through, but didn't seem to occupy as many pages as the previous book.

As a parent who read aloud to his children a couple times Collin's previous series, Gregor the Overlander, I chuckled at Collin's reuse of an underground world for her setting. It was an underground civilization that Gregor from above discovered and adventured, much like Katniss in District 13, the nuclear equipped district that successfully seceded from Panem and survived by emulating ancient Sparta. As I read about District 13, I thought "Sparta" but I didn't feel confirmed in that until the acknowledgment section where Collins thanks her mother for teaching her about ancient Rome. In the story, the Bread and Circuses of ancient Rome is explicitly acknowledged, and then I started thunking my head with the heel of my hand. The Avox are people with their tongues cut out, avox would be without voice in Latin.

For us adult readers, especially as we enter another even more banal election cycle in the United States, Collins warning behind the story, the invective against our own decline into being a populace concerned mostly with being fat and happy, demanding ever more disturbing entertainment, is certainly convicting. So be a Katniss. Unplug your cable TV. Ignore the minor differences between the two major parties and vote for someone else, a third party. Or go occupy someplace and unnerve the oligarchy. Neither Coin nor Snow should rule Panem...


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