book response: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2010)
|Mockingjay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
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...