In Defense of ‘Mockingjay’

It’s been years since Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” trilogy ended. As such, it’s been a while since the final book, “Mockingjay”, was released.

If I remember correctly, upon it’s release, “Mockingjay” received a fairly mixed reception. Many hardcore fans felt nothing but hatred and disdain for the book, along with a healthy dose of anger at Collins for writing what she did. ‘She’d let them down’, they’d say. I recall people saying that the book read as though it Collins simply threw it together, simply to be done with the behemoth with had eaten her life. Many people said that Katniss was no longer a badass heroine.

My feelings differ. Continue reading

Run That By Me One More Time – The Benefits of A Second Read

Some books, you love from the very start. You have a seat, open the cover, turn the page and you’re hooked from the first word. The work consumes you, body and soul. When you finish, you feel as though you’re missing a limb. You’re missing something vital – those characters, those places! They’ve grown to be part of your very being and you’re left feeling bereft.

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch was like that for me. I started reading a bit nervously, because I’d read so many reviews of the book and had heard so   many people rail on about it, saying that it was overlong, overstuffed, overdone and overrated. I’d seen so many people express their wonder at it being a best seller and wonder “Why the heck did that thing win a Pulitzer?”.

Continue reading

Go Set a Watchman…To Kill a Mockingbird…and Me

So, today Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” has been released.

Ms. Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” has long been an important book to me. So, I was crushed to read a NY Times article which stated that, in “Go Set a Watchman” Atticus Finch turns out to be an unrepentant racist and segregationist. This broke my heart and, at least for the time being, I won’t be reading it.

Unlike some, I don’t feel betrayed or let down by Ms. Lee — “GSAW” is essentially the first draft of what later became TKAM, and Atticus and the other characters belong to her to do with as she will. Ms. Lee allowed us to get to know her characters and for that I will always be grateful.

It’s just that, for me, this new turn of events puts a dent in something very important to me.

I have never seen Atticus Finch as a completely perfect, not racist person. I have always felt that, even with his noble defense in TKAM, that there were some teasings of racial inequality in his beliefs — he harbors a very paternalistic view of black people in TKAM. It’s just…Atticus was the perfect representation something that was so important for me to believe exists. Continue reading