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145. The Hunger Games - Part 3 (A Reread)

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

In honor of the last Hunger Games novel being made into a movie, I decided to give everyone's "least favorite" of the trilogy a quick re-read before going to see it in theaters. And a major disclaimer, this post will be filled with spoilers, so if you don't want to read this, I won't be in the least offended. So if you haven't already read Mockingjay or don't want any spoilers for the next two movies, I wouldn't read this post. 

I think Mockingjay is vastly underrated. Everyone I've talked to truly doesn't like it, but I believe that the reason is because all too often when the last book in a series comes around, people have built up what they want it to be in their minds, and then the book doesn't fufill those expectations. However, this is a book about war, and war isn't supposed to fufill anyone's expectations. It's supposed to be tragic, which I think Mockingjay lives up to. 

Collins gives us both viewpoints of the war: (to quote Katniss's narriation) Gale's fire and Peeta's dandelion in the spring. She shows us Gale's compassion to the members of Thirteen when Katniss asks who they are. Gale tells her that they are them if they had grown up the same way. But he doesn't seem to think the same about the Capitol: that they are them if they had grown up the same way because Gale believes in a true sense of right and wrong, black and white, fire and ice. You either have good intentions or bad intentions, and the Capitol has bad intentions. 

She gives us the nurses of war, Mrs. Everdeen and Primrose, and the beacons of hope, Katniss. With a second read through I see the importance of these two and the visit to Eight. How Gale, a miner who "never gives up unless the situation is hopeless", can't find a way to help the broken rebels of Eight with his fire, but Katniss gives them all the hope in the world with a few kind words and a few touches of the hand. 

Katniss is Collin's personification of the necessary hope in dark and dreary situations. 

I also never understood why Katniss shot Coin instead of Snow at the end. Until I reread it, I thought it was a careless choice, that she should have shot Snow, and that it was a last act of defiance to the Capitol. The last it was, but with the reread you see the hints that Katniss's decision isn't as spur-of-the-moment as it seems. 

"The Hanging Tree" while a wonderful metaphor and hauntingly beautiful is used twice later is the novel, and I find them unnecessary and overkill of a beautiful metaphor. However one metaphor I enjoy used twice is the Meadow song from the first novel. I think it was beautifully placed in the epilogue of Collins' epic trilogy and brings everything to a wonderful end. 

Favorite Quote / Most Under-Appreciated Quote: "I drag myself out of nightmares each morning to find there's no relief in waking." -Finnick Odair when talking to Katniss in the bunkers of Thirteen

161. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Z - Therese Anne Fowler

In honor of semi-finishing the review of literature for my senior thesis, I wanted to partake in the month of Bookvember (which is to my knowledge my own creation). In this reading-driven month, I have challenged myself to read four books: Z, The Princess Bride, Paper Towns, and The Silkworm. Of these, I have finished the first in the allotted week to which I gave myself to read it.

This novel is a wonderful adaptation of the life of Ms. Zelda Sayre who becomes very early on in the novel Mrs. Zelda Fitzgerald. At the beginning of the novel, Fowler presents us with the wonderful romance that is at the beginning of most people's marriages. Fowler then shows us that this marriage was not what the media of the time presented it as. We are presented with a marriage that, like all marriages, has it's struggles. We find that their specific marriage has struggles with alcohol and health and the struggles of a writer's unpredictable salary that isn't much when placed in the thirst to have the best and newest of everything that comes with the 1920's.

In school, I learned that writers like Fitzgerald and Hemingway fled to France to escape the "corruption of the 20's." Meanwhile this novel show me a different story: that Fitzgerald -at least- fled to France because he wasn't frugal and wasn't able to stretch his money in America like he would be able to do in France. Fowler presented a story that I wasn't able to keep my hands off of (which resulted in a hot sauce stain at the bottom of one of the pages). However, this wasn't the same kind of "couldn't put it down" that stories like Divergent and The Hunger Games gives you. This was nothing more than a "oh my goodness, I have to figure out what happens next to Zelda" and "will she actually leave Scott to go to Naples" and "when is the next health issue going to happen" that kept me going.

Fowler showed me that not everyone has giant climax moments in their lives, and that -if anything- Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were just normal people with normal struggles. "Even now," Fowler wrote through the narration of Zelda at the end of the novel, "I wouldn't choose differently than I did." Even after all of her troubles with Scott, she would have married him all over again. Even with all of the pain that they caused to each other, she would do it all over again. That is the most powerful lesson this novel teaches me: that life sometimes hands you a lot of bad situations, but without enduring those bad situations, you wouldn't be who you are today.