Behind every book is an author.
And the author's family, background, thoughts, opinions, biases, etc. are going to come into play in the writing of the book.
Most readers don't think of that while reading, though. They take the story at face value. I mean, really, if we've done our job, the author is invisible. Ideally, you shouldn't think of the author at all while reading, right?
But because I'm an author with books out there, I know what it feels like to have people read a book, not know where I was coming from, and express their disappointment about the book.
Generally, with every book, and with every item readers may have disagreed with me on, there are reasons WHY I handled things the way I did.
But do those reasons matter? Or perhaps a better question - SHOULD they matter? I think before I became an author, I might have said no. Now, I think I'm saying maybe.
I've been thinking a lot about these issues after having finished MOCKINGJAY last week.
I have to tell you, I set the book down and my heart hadn't felt that heavy in a long time. And from a book? I can't even remember the last time a book did that to me. (And this wasn't about Team Peeta vs Team Gale at all. I never felt strongly one way or the other about either of them. I never felt like that was what the story was really about in the first place).
I just was left wanting more at the end. More love. More hope. And I didn't get it. And yes, I was left feeling disappointed.
Some readers have expressed similar feelings to me about my book IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES. Some have felt disappointed in the ending. And as an author, it hurts to hear that. Especially because I have my reasons as to why I ended it the way I did, and I think they are GOOD reasons! :)
And I know Suzanne has her reasons for writing the book the way she did. In fact, when you read many of the reviews around the internet, people talk about these reasons.
What I've come to learn is that sometimes, especially with endings, when people feel strongly about the way an author handles it, some really good discussions can grow from those strong feelings. Now, some lousy ones can too. I've read some horribly mean comments from people. Hateful comments directed at the author herself. WHAT??? Seriously?? I've had the pleasure of meeting Suzanne Collins and chatting with her for a few minutes, and she is a VERY nice person. You are allowed to not like the book, absolutely. But why say hateful things about the author? I don't get that.
Anyway - I have my guesses and assumptions after I've processed the book for almost a week now. And I think there was a lot of intention behind the ending. I was left feeling sad, because war is sad. I was left wanting more love because in a world where there is so much war, you are going to want love! Crave for it, long for it, wish for it. And I believe Suzanne wants us to remember that.
Does it make me feel better about the book? I have to say, it does. But what's weird is that I have no way of knowing if any of that is true. SC might think she gave us a very hopeful ending. Who the heck knows???
It's interesting that in many cases, we'll try to understand a character's motivation around something. But with some books, we feel the need to go beyond that. To try and understand the author's motivation. And you know what I've realized? If we're doing that, the book obviously did a good job creating characters that readers feel like they know and really care about.
And that, my friends, is no small feat.
I probably would have had more at the end. I probably would have tried to bring a bit more "balance" to the book (something Sab at YABliss talks about here). But I didn't write the book. And so, I'm respecting Suzanne for doing it the way she thought it needed to be done.
Have you read it? Want to tell me what you think (without hating on SC, please)?
(one small note: the mom in me wants to warn parents to read this book before you let your kids read it, especially if they're under 13. I know, the other two books had kids killing kids, but this book is incredibly dark and sad in places. If nothing else, if you read it before your kids, you can be there to talk about it with them and help them process everything. I think with this book, it's really important)