Hunger Games–Spoiler Alert!!!

I’m in Florida visiting my sister and her kiddos for the holiday, and I’m not on any type of routine, so my attempts at writing have mostly consisted of searing random thoughts into my brain, making sure I don’t forget the zillion ideas I’ve had in the past week or two. And now that the dust of bedtime has settled and the house is silent, I’m able to write a post that might expose a little too much of my psyche, but I have to get it out somehow.

I read Suzanne Collin’s novel The Hunger Games today. Yep, today. I had read about 60 pages of it before the break, and then had to abandon it for Gatsby and Willy Loman and research papers. But today I had a swath of time that begged for a book, so I finished it.

It’s a great read–action-packed and filled with commentary on where our media-saturated society could very well be heading–but when I read the last page, I was furious.

I admire the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. She knows she’s being manipulated by the system. She knows how to survive, how to take care of her family and friends, and even how to take care of herself. But she doesn’t seem to grasp how anyone could love and admire her. Katniss and I have this in common.

I work hard. I would do most anything for my family and friends. But decades of forced independence have created an inability to comprehend that anyone sees anything at all valuable about me. Which is why I feel guilty when people buy me gifts, and why I don’t really like hugs or pats on the back.

So I was rooting for Katniss to really fall in love in Peeta. I wanted that for her so much. How could she not see that any boy would be lucky to have her? And at the end of the first book, where she blocks out Peeta with her uncertainty and inability to articulate her emotions, I was livid.

It bothered me all day, and it wasn’t until late in the evening that I realized how much I connected with Katniss. No, I’m not in an apocalyptic setting, and I haven’t had to kill anyone in order to survive, but her forced independence resonated with me.

I don’t often read fiction, mostly because I don’t see how anyone could make up a story more outrageous than what happens in real life. But another reason I don’t read fiction is that too often it is a mirror, reflecting and magnifying the fears and insecurities that I’m not yet ready to face.

There’s two more books to go before I know what ultimately happens to Katniss, and I’ll probably read them just so I can say I did. But I don’t have much hope that I’ll read a happy ending…then again, I don’t have much hope that I’ll get a happy ending either.

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