Saturday, September 18, 2010

How to Write a Review - NOT!

I finally finished Mockingjay (thanks to having both a hardcover book AND the Aldiko download on my Droid X phone!) Now the quandary. How do I write a review, the way I feel about it?

Well, I know the basic steps to writing. In my third grade classroom we start like this:

And knowing all of this is not making it much easier. You see I can talk a mile a mile a minute about it, but putting pen to paper, oops - fingers to keyboard - is a tad harder. Is that because it is more permanent than thoughts? I remember when I managed a bookstore that many people expected me to be the kind of person with a book inside me just waiting to be written. They thought I was working there not because I loved books but because they thought I was a frustrated author. NO WAY!! I am a reader. I appreciate and relish a book. Nothing more. I absorb, ponder, and chew on the words of others but no adequate words seem to gel together in my mind to be put on paper.

For the most part I am content with my non-writing skills... until it's time to write my thoughts to someone, create a verse, a letter, or merely write a short review. Now I'm stuck. See my problem? Now this "review writing block" has seeped into my personal life! Egads!

My feeble attempt:

Suzanne Collins, here's my number. Call anytime. Let's have a long chat about your terrific characters, their growth, their fears and their passions. About Katniss Everdeen (I don't care what Stephen King says, I LOVE the name.) Let's talk about actions and consequences. But let's laugh a little too. I need a little bit of that after some intense time with your book; it wasn't always happy.

Shall we do lunch? Because I certainly don't want to do bedtime stories with you. Blood and guts and evil - yes, that's what war is. And your books of war are quite frankly the stuff of bad dreams and nightmares. Unfortunately they are real. War is not pretty and I am grateful that you didn't pretty it up. The Capitol did that.

I didn't like you much at times though. Characters I liked didn't get the respect I wanted and were gone in an instant - no goodbyes. How dare you?!? But, on second thought, that's life. We don't get notice that this will be goodbye or GOODBYE. We just go on.

Your ending took time. Thank you. I expected something different but in the end it feels just right. I felt like I was watching a friend who suffered PTSD. No easy answers, no overnight "get well." Thanks for being careful there. Yep, life went on. Time really can help us grow scars over our wounds. Like Katniss and her physical wounds, hearts and minds will always carry the marks of war or loss. May time be a careful healer over those griefs and losses.

You know, Suzanne (I feel we're friends now,) I'm glad Katniss made the choices she did. Gale or Peeta? That too was fine in my mind. Her reasoning resonates in me. Thanks for that. So I don't ruin it for others, just call me (remember, you have my number) and we'll talk about it a little more!

Now, that's done. My thoughts are clear in my mind. I'm ready to talk with anyone else about it too. Bring it on...after a few weeks of not wanting to hear anyone else's opinions I'm ready and waiting.

Good, now that's one thing I can check off my Saturday list!


Susan said...

A non-writer? Whatever! That was a perfectly clever review. Loved it. MJ didn't go quite the way I wanted it to, but I adore this series nonetheless. It's fresh, exciting and thought-provoking.

Have a great weekend! I was just out watching my son's Tball game - is this heat EVER going to leave??

Suey said...

Great review I thought! I had no idea how to approach this one either. I love that you chatted with Suzanne as a friend. At book club the other night, we sort of did the same thing. We found ourselves saying "she this, she that" and someone said, "she who?" and the response was "You know, Suzanne, our good friend!"

Jenners said...

Well done!! Sometimes when you just decide to get going, it all comes out easier than you ever thought.

I wasn't a big fan of this book ... found it disappointing in a lot of ways. I think the blogosophere has been a bit divided on it ... either loving it or hating it.

It is hard to end series, isn't it? Almost no one will be happy with your choices.

Becky K said...

So reviews like yours are making it hard for me to dislike Mockingjay. :) I read it a few weeks ago and promptly disregarded the ending, calling it lazy and hurried and unintelligible in places. But I'm reading reviews like yours and Lucy's and thinking. Maybe I need to give Katniss more credit. Maybe it's ok that she ended up with Peeta for the reasons she did. I still can't get over Gale and his choice to be (in my mind) a mid-level executive in the machinery of the winning side (where's the revolutionary in that?) but being a revolutionary doesn't have a good life span, either. Maybe I should forgive the characters for reacting like humans and not characters and be okay with it.

Sorry for the long comment froma stranger. I clicked over from your comment on Lucy's blog. I'll admit, you two have me thinking. Maybe I need to reread and see if I can come up with a better opinion from a second go around.

Lucy said...

I loved your review. It's personal and with feeling and I think it's perfectly o.k. for anyone to react any way they wish to after reading it.

I have spoken to a few people who have VERY strong opinions about it. I wonder if not having to wait for the dramatic conclusion kept me from being so emotionally invested in how it ended. I really felt like she did a good job with keeping it a bit jumbled, without ignoring some necessary resolution.

alisonwonderland said...

I love this! Very well done!