You read that right. I did not finish reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I couldn’t even get past a quarter of the way through. I remember it all clearly. I’d read and LOVED Hunger Games. I liked Catching Fire. But couldn’t finish Mockingjay, and not because it was bad. It wasn’t bad. It was actually really good. It was so well written, in fact, that it was affecting my sleep at night and my mood during the day. Since I invest so much of my emotions in the books I read, Mockingjay took a great toll on me in a negative way. I read for an escape, and this was NOT an escape for me.
So I stopped reading.
I saw Mockingjay Part I in theaters (because I was still curious as to how the story ended), and liked it, but not enough to go back and watch Part II in theaters when it came out. So I watched Part II after it came in DVD.
And I’m am so glad I waited.
Because the movie had the same effect on me as the book did. In the two hours it took to watch the movie, I got depressed. I had weird, unsettling dreams that night. I just felt kind of down for days. I mean, the whole story is intense. There are a lot of psychological factors involved. The brainwashing of Peeta. The memories of the Avox in the underground tunnels. The war. The bombs…. *sigh*
I don’t know why dark things like this bother me so much. The books I write are by no means light and fluffy. I guess I just like to have hope at the end of the tunnel—er—book, and there wasn’t much hope in The Hunger Games. I need equal good and bad things happening, and everything just kept going from bad to worse to worse.
Maybe the story was just a little too close to reality.
Because war sucks and there is a lot of death and brainwashing and injustices being done to the innocent and why would I want to escape to a fiction world if I’m just going to read about the same stuff that I see in the news? I mean, I know we don’t have Hunger Games. But there are child soldiers in Africa who are brainwashed and trained to kill, so that’s kind of the same thing, if not worse. And that’s just a fraction of what’s going on in the world.
People told me that when I watched the Mockingjay movies, I would want to finish the book, and I have to say that, um, no. If anything, I am GLAD I didn’t finish the book. Because why would I want to put myself through that? At least in movies, it’s temporary. It’s a two-hour thing. Books usually take me a couple days to a couple weeks to read, and take a much bigger toll on my emotions.
All this isn’t to say The Hunger Games are bad books. Nor is it to say Suzanne Collins is a bad writer. If anything, it’s saying how GOOD she is, because she can affect me so deeply with her words and she does make people think about real life issues.
All this IS to say that I love YA books. I love the dystopian genre. But not every story is for everyone, no matter their tastes.
QOTP: What about you? How did Mockingjay affect you? Which is your favorite/least favorite book in the Hunger Games Series?