Summer Reading Book #10: “Catching Fire” and why I’m just now reading it.

Catching_Fire cover

My 10th summer reading book of the summer is Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I know I’m incredibly late on this train, but there’s a bit of a backstory about my decision to even read this trilogy in the first place. See, I was vaguely interested about 4 years ago, when I saw one of the kids from my youth group reading the book on the bus to camp. I sort of brushed it off, and thought nothing about it until it was everywhere.

And then I refused to read it.

I know I’m not the only one who has a knee-jerk reaction to things that spontaneously become “cool,” but mine wouldn’t have been that bad if not for a friend or two who would not shut up about the books. The unbridled enthusiasm for these stories was so annoying to me that I vowed (yes, vowed) I wold never, ever read them.

Fast forward a year or two. After seeing the second movie with my brother on a whim, I decided to give the books a try, so back in January or February, I picked up the first book and I didn’t care for it. It was fast-pace and intense, but I just couldn’t get past a couple of unrealistic plot devices and on top of that…I didn’t like Katniss.  I didn’t understand her so I couldn’t relate to her. The character that kept me reading was poor Peeta.

Well, a couple of months ago, I was hanging out with some friends and I mentioned my issues with the series. One thing lead to another, and the next thing I know, I’m having a full-on psycho-analytic literary discussion about how Katniss’s personality has developed and why she is the way she is based on her childhood traumas and socio-economic status. Suddenly, she made a bit more sense to me, and I left that conversation thinking that this summer, I would pick back up with the trilogy.

I definitely enjoyed this book more than I did the first, and I am moving the third book higher up on my TBR list. The main thing that still baffles me this: why the heck is Peeta so in love with Katniss? Haymitch is right when he says that she “could live a hundred lifetimes and never deserve him.” For fully two days after reading this book, I kept randomly blurting out “why the heck does he love her?!” And, not to be an utterly cheesy Christian, but it reminded me of the even more likely love affair between God and the world. Katniss is capable of hurting Peeta over and over again, and does so. She doesn’t know how to return his love and finds herself having to use him and it for her own benefit, and he’s fully aware of it for most of the second book. And he’d still die for her.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:8

So those are my thoughts and feels about Catching Fire. Did anyone else have a tough time getting into this trilogy? Were you won over in the end? What do you think of Katniss and Peeta? . Happy Reading!

Regina, The Pensive Ponderer.


2 thoughts on “Summer Reading Book #10: “Catching Fire” and why I’m just now reading it.

  1. What in particular bothered me about the books is that people talk about romance, but there was almost no romance at all in the entire trilogy. There wasn’t much in the way of sweet talk, no real dates, and everyone just passively hanging around until someone else made a decision.

    1. Thanks so much for commenting!

      To be sure, this story isn’t “romantic”. There is most certainly a love story in it, but it is not romantic because it is born in tragically terrifying circumstances. The primary function of the story is to portray a dystopian society from the eyes of one of its citizens. Katniss’ life and all that happens to her are colored by the control of the Capitol. An actually contemporary-style romance has no room in the pace of such an existence. And you’re right about the passivity: our protagonist is passive, so the whole story feels stalled since we see everything through her eyes.

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