So... 100 people took the survey after reading Mockingjay, and the results are as mixed as the reviews. Marissa and I have been thinking about this, and we've come up with a number of points we'd like to throw out. First, a young adult book that gets people talking is a wonderful thing. Second, it would be great to see into the heads of the people who made the decisions about ending this series. Why did Suzanne Collins make the choices she made?
Don't get me wrong. Neither Marissa nor I are in the "disappointed because the love story didn't end well" camp. We could care less who Katniss chose. And based on what we've heard and seen in the survey, the fact that Katniss didn't actively make a choice isn't significant because she didn't pick one "team" or the other. What seems to disappoint people is that Katniss didn't make any choices--after two books of being a complex, flawed heroine willing to sacrifice for others, she becomes a weak character who mimics what she herself despised at the beginning of the series. Yes, war is horrific. Yes, war leaves people changed and not always for the better. But to many, the ending felt rushed and there were critical plot points that weren't addressed. Believability became an issue when Katniss agreed to the final Hunger Games, but then that issue disappeared without resolution. Do we believe Katniss would have let that happen? No. According to the survey, we don't. Does that change the fact that this is an amazing book? Also no. But the survey shows it's by far the weakest of the trilogy. And I wonder whether there was an obligation to the readers that wasn't met.
Is it fair in commercial lit to make a point at the reader's expense? Not all books need to end with a happy ending, but do we need to give the reader something to take away after such a major investment of time, energy, and emotion? Something as small as having Katniss help Peeta plant the primroses might have been enough for me. What would have done it for you? Do any of the survey results below surprise you?