Have you ever been knocked upside the head by a book? Please tell me you have. If you haven't, you haven't lived. (Or, you haven't found your genre, at least.) Sometimes a book comes along that grabs reality and folds it into an origami swan, and the world printed in tiny black letters on paper becomes more substantial than the people around you, than your job, than the priorities you place so much importance on.
Granted, getting lost like this in a book was so much easier when I was a teenager. My emotions were more easily manipulated. The demands on my time were less critical. I didn't have to make my own meals, and laundry did itself (thanks, Mom!).
Maybe it's not so ironic that it was a YA novel, then, that capsized my world recently.
I've confessed my resistance in reading YA novels many times on this blog. I've also admitted that those things I most resist often tend to be some of the best. From the small (delaying watching Firefly for months because I was sure it wouldn't appeal; now it's one of the only TV shows I own, definitely the only one I rewatch with fondness) to the large (I resisted falling in love with Cody—such a fool am I!—and delayed marrying him much longer—it was one of the happiest days of my life!). I really should start paying attention to what I resist.
There are so many more lines that were superb, but these two, they say so much about the characters, about the world, about the way Katniss thinks and the way people see her—the way people know her. Writing books and instructors can repeat the advice every word should advance plot or develop character, ideally doing both until they're hoarse, and it wouldn't be as clear to me as these lines.
There's another line, a mini-speech given by Plutarch that hammers home the theme of the final novel, that makes me think of the real-life1930s and the 1950s and the 1970s...
Teach this series in high school, America. These are the themes of today. The power of a single person. The ramifications of decisions and actions. War. Compassion. The layers of right (often just as murky as the layers of wrong). The strength of hope. Capitulation through willful ignorance. Love.
And one last thought for the Universe: Please raise my writing skills up to this level!