Hey. You wanna hear something about me? You probably do, you're already reading this:
I think The Hunger Games is my book.
I mean, logically, I understand that it isn't, but, in my heart, I know that it is.
I read the first two books in the series summer 2010, just before I started grad school, and, truth be told, I didn't have a lot else going on. My luxury was time, and I allowed the story to wash over me, immerse me, pull me far out to sea.
By the time Mockingjay came out at the end of August 2010, I knew I was in trouble. I finished it one afternoon a week before school started. I put on big sunglasses and hit the streets, crying. Actually crying as I walked through Park Slope. I ended up at McDonald's where I bought a large coke, my remedy for a bad day. As though I had just been through something.
But, I had, in a way. I'd become subsumed by the books. James worked long hours and I spent a lot of time alone. Reading is always solitary, but this experience was especially so. The reading, and the miles I spent running, and thinking, and piecing the story together; seeing it from all possible angles. This made these books feel particularly personal. I didn't own them, or try to keep them from other people. I recommended them, and loaned my books, but I didn't talk about them. I evaded when people wanted to discuss them.
The books are good, and powerful too. But it wasn't just that. These books captured a specific piece of time in my life that I can never again duplicate.
The end result is this: when the movie was announced, I decided I wouldn't see it. I didn't want to bear watching my experience shared.
I've changed my mind, and want to see it, but am still leery. That's why I avoided opening weekend, and hearing other people talk about it. It's not that I'm not interested in what they have to say, it's just that--and I know what this sounds like--it's not relevant. Not to me.
I will read these books again. I will recommend them to my daughter. These books will mean different things to me later. But, first, they meant this:
...the books we need are the kind that act upon us like a misfortune, that make us suffer like the death of someone we love more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we were on the verge of suicide, or lost in a forest remote from all human habitation--a book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us.
The Hanging Tree.
*title loosely quoted from I Capture the Castle.