Fire is Catching

There’s only one problem about finding a book that can hold your attention. For me, its the transportation that takes place when my heart becomes caught up in the story. This week I finally bit the bullet and read the final book of the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I wasn’t riveted by the first two installments. I was – very much so. I just have this problem of becoming too connected to the characters and feeling certain they will meet many more painful blows before the final pages flutter to a close. And then wondering if that end will have any happiness. It hard to go in knowing your heart’s going to take a beating.

When I’m reading, suddenly I can feel Katniss’ pain, her indecision, anguish or loss. I’m caught up in her experience and I find it hard to come back to the regular everyday work of running a household when I’m in the middle of it. Piano lessons don’t seem so important and I’d much rather spend my time curled up in a rocker with my book cradled between my palms. Please tell me I’m not the only one who lets dishes pile and laundry turn moldy in the washer while trying to find out whether Katniss chooses Gale or Peeta.

In the end, I wished for more happily ever after for Katniss, but I was satisfied in a realistic sort of way with it all. Her story was hard and painful, her loss almost too much for words, but somehow, she made choices that would free her world of the tyranny of the Games, even when she didn’t have the whole story. My favorite parts were when she was in action, when she was truest self: comforting the wounded, calling out Snow in her anger over the bombings, offering mercy to the refugees from 2 when they came crawling out of the ‘Nut’, her compassion and fury over the treatment of her makeover team from the Capitol, her despair over losing Peeta to his madness. And in the end, I was happy to hear that Peeta won her heart after all, because all along he’d been fighting to protect and love her and it made me happy to see him finally win.

That’s what I read yesterday, and a little the day before. My husband may have turned over at 2am to the soft blue glow of my bedside lamp and wondered aloud what his wife was still doing up. It may have happened. It wouldn’t be the first time I was planning to read just one more page and ended up flicking off the light in the wee hours of the morning. And I certainly hope it won’t be the last.


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