Sunday, March 18, 2012

Feeding on Words: Real or Not Real?

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (the final book of The Hunger Games)

from amazon.com

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.




As promised, here is my take on Mockingjay. (It's not going to be a real review, I can't do that to this book. It makes me too subjective. =)



Real or Not Real?

I have never read a book twice just because I wanted to. Even the novels of Nicholas Sparks, whom I have confessed to be a favorite, never merited a second reading. It’s not because I don’t like the books. It’s more of the desire to preserve whatever impact the first reading has left me with.

Not real.

Up until last night, I would have only read all my books once. But Mockingjay, the final book to the Hunger Games Trilogy, held a part of me so tightly that I all but read the book over after reading it the first time.

Three months later, I find myself feeling the same frustrations, anger, incredulity and admiration that the book imparted on me. I went through the pages again, expecting to be bored because I know what will happen next but realizing that I still want to be there when it happens. I want to be right beside Katniss Everdeen, right inside her soul, through the war and the victory. But there is no victory. There is only a faded, dulled but still strikingly appalling memory of what they all had to go through. And that is why Mockingjay grips me so hard.

Thank you, Suzanne Collins, for writing such a beautiful novel. You have used your talent so splendidly that I hope this trilogy will be passed on to generations as many classics have. It is a terrible thing to write about war and the effects of it on children, but it is a reality we all must be aware of. I guess you’ve written the novels not for us to accept but for everyone to take notice and do something about it.

What your characters go through is not purely a product of mere imagination. It is real. Children in Iraq, Iran, Syria and other parts of the world that have known only fighting and survival feel what the Districts feel. They are there, with them. They are the rebels. They are the soldiers. They are the Gales who, out of revenge for the pain he has been forced to face, fight so passionately and so abandoned by feelings of justice. They fight because they were put in a position to fight, like there’s no other choice.

There are Katnisses who become symbols in their own right. Symbols of why they are fighting war. Children who continue fighting because they hope for a future, albeit a future starved of loved ones they once had.

And there are Peetas, ones who know what the wars are doing but cannot deny their need to survive. Ones who prefer peace but cannot and do not want to be part of anyone’s ‘games’. Ones who are aware of the hands that are playing with the strings of their puppets, playing them into the cold, bloody and lonely wars they’re in.

They are real. They exist and even more are like Haymitch, Beetee, Annie or Johanna. People who have survived everything but have nothing left. People who have fought in the war but have nothing for themselves but death—waiting, longing for that quick blow that will end their misery. Or those who sit down and wonder if all the fighting was worth it.

I guess at some point, we all think it’s worth it. Better to let some die than the world tumble into chaos. Better to sacrifice the willing ones than to find ourselves imprisoned under the hands that unceremoniously, even cruelly, control us. Better to kill off everything than to live where life rested on the hands of ‘gamemakers’.

I won’t argue about their motives. I won’t argue with their ways. Although I live where people have an unconscious fear of a bomb blowing up, or a few miles away people and villages are taken, I cannot put myself in the shoes of those who have gone or are going through it. No, I cannot and will not pretend that I know how it feels but because of these books, I see more clearly.

After the fighting, the blood, the losses, people are expected to move on. People are expected to learn something from it. People. Children. Children who have to live without parents, without siblings. Children who have to live on their own. Children who have to live with their nightmares. Children who have to live the rest of their life with whatever is left in their life.

War does not end when one side surrenders or is defeated. War does not end when the victors take control of what they were fighting for. War does not end in this world.

“We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction,” Plutarch Heavensbee so accurately suggests.

The desire, the unrest, it all comes back and we are thrust into a fight for something: freedom, control, provisions, anything. It’s a cycle.

I’m not going to say peace is impossible. I am optimistic and believe we will reach that sweet point in time where we don’t want to repeat the awful things that happened in the past. I hope that we can all find the decency, the humanity of living without a grudge or even anger towards another human being. I hope and I pray and I believe we will get there.

Mockingjay. It is a book that ends but a story that goes on. It is a concrete revelation of the abstract destruction the wars are doing to the children, to everyone. It is not a mere novel that tells of some characters that fight to stop a more powerful force but a reality we are all living in. It is a terrible, horrible story yet a beautiful book at the same time.

When the day comes and we are free, we will have to answer to Someone who we cannot fight or win a war against. We will all have to answer to every command, every action we have taken. And when we are asked if it is real or not real that we have put all this destruction upon us, not just the physical evidences of it but the lifelong desperation to free oneself from the nightmares, we will have to answer what we know we should, what we know is true.

Real or not real?

##

Thank you, Suzanne Collins, for this heart-wrenching book. I'd like to talk extensively about everything that happens in it but I would only be repeating what you wrote. The pain is still fresh but I know it will heal. But it will never really go away. The confusion,, the fear, the anger -- all will return then disappear. That is life. And I can only hope that someday, I'll find the Peeta who will give me a hold on reality and whose arms will be around to comfort, to protect me. Always.

##

This is in celebration and anticipation of The Hunger Games movie which will come out in 5 days! The world will be watching.

Also, read my review on The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. =) They're not as emotional as this one, I promise. (was this emotional???)

Have a great day everyone!





P.S.
Ms. Collins, please give me a chance to write the screenplay for this book. I'll start as soon as I can bear creasing my book. =) contact me?

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