The Final Chapter
I recently sung the praises of one Suzanne Collins. I was reading her book, The Hunger Games which was the first in the series.
This morning on the train, I was reading the third book in this series: Mockingjay.
There I was, sitting with my bag on my lap, arms resting on top of it, book open in front of me. But I’m not on the train anymore. I’m in Panem.
I briefly leave this new world to turn the page and when I settle my hands back into their book-propping position, I can’t help but notice the extreme imbalance. My left hand is straining to grasp the novel while my right hand is barely needed to hold down the measly group of pages I have left to read.
That’s when it hits me.
It happens about this time in every book I’m enjoying. The panic.
The end is near.
This is especially hard when it’s a series. The other two books ended with the promise of another.
Not this one.
This is it.
I keep having to reread passages because I’m so overcome with fear and dread that it will be over soon that I can’t focus.
Finally, I have to take a deep breath and tell myself to concentrate. Try to ignore the nagging in the back of my head that’s reminding me that it’ll end ANY MINUTE.
Then just like that, it’s over. I read the Acknowledgments just to keep reading this amazing woman’s words.
They weren’t that amazing, by the way.
I read the book jacket just to keep going.
Also less than thrilling.
Finally, I had to accept that it was over. There was no more and there would never be more.
I had the foresight to toss another book in my bag this morning just in case this moment came. But I couldn’t bring myself to start it. Not in this state of unease.
So, no longer in Panem, no longer with Katniss in her world, I sat. I flipped through my memories of the series, of everything we had been through together. I see it in flashes as though I had, in fact, seen it. My memories aren’t of words or paragraphs, they’re of images.
Which seems odd. But it speaks to the power of Suzanne Collins’s writing. Her ability to describe these events as if they were happening right here, right now, right in front of me. I have these images of awful creatures that I’ve never actually witnessed with my eyes, just in my (and her) imagination. There is no way to know if what we picture looks anything alike, yet there they lie in my memories intertwined with actual memories.
This is why it’s hard for me to see movie adaptations of my favorite books. Especially when it involves anything the author created, something unique that doesn’t actually exist in our world. Something you can’t capture on film. The images on the screen rarely fit with the images in my head. The characters don’t quite sound the way they should. Sometimes they even pronounce their names wrong.
Sometimes they get it pretty close. Then it can be exciting. A new way to experience something you loved. Little Women was pretty spot-on. Eat Pray Love didn’t really screw up too badly.
It’s just never quite the same.
There are talks of turning the Hunger Games series into movies. I don’t know how they’re going to do that. I don’t know how the FCC is going to LET them do that. But it will be interesting to see them try.
So for now I will just enjoy the memories. Mull over my feelings about it. Relive the best and worst moments.
That is, until I start the next book.