Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Chapter 11

In the eleventh chapter of Mockingjay, the pressure that surrounds Katniss finally overwhelms her and she breaks down while trying to film another propo. And then WHAT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Mockingjay.

I’m curious to know how many of you have ever reached a breaking point in your life. I’ve had a few of them over the years. Unfortunately, two times it involved suicide attempts. The third time I felt “broken” I ran away from home. And then it didn’t happen again until last summer, and the result of that inspired me to quit my job at Buzznet and move to Oakland.

It’s weird, thinking about it now, how literally running away actually helped, especially since many of us have been told that running away from problems never solves them. YEP. TOTALLY DOES. (For me. Obvs my experience is not your experience.)

I want Katniss to get away from all this. It’s overwhelming me and I’m just reading the story. The fact is that both sides in this battle are using her, unaware and uncaring of her mental state or her emotional well-being. I think it’s simply awful, straight up, and now they’re all seeing the effects of treating Katniss like a product, like a message to be consumed. And I’m really, really glad that Collins has the foresight and respect to frame all of this in such a negative way, as a form of commentary about District 13 and the Capitol. This could not have been an easy story for Collins to write, either, but she chose to take a route that criticizes tyranny and oppression in multiple forms and I love it.

Four missiles fall over the next four days, creating a situation of unending, uncomfortable dread, as no one knows when the next missile will fall and if any of it will ever end any time soon. They’re all left in the dark, literally and metaphorically. There’s no information shared by Coin with any of the citizens. So it becomes a waiting game.

I am not completely in love with this chapter, as Collins writes a section about a self-defined metaphor about a game Katniss plays called, “Crazy Cat,” which entails her shining a flashlight around and Buttercup plays with it. It’s seriously one of the strangest things I’ve ever read:

I am Buttercup. Peeta, the thing I want so badly to secure, is the light. As long as Buttercup feels he has the chance of catching the elusive light under his paws, he’s bristling with aggression. (That’s how I’ve been since I left the arena, with Peeta alive.) When the light goes out completely, Buttercup’s temporarily distraught and confused, but recovers and moves on to other things. (That’s what would happen if Peeta died.) But the one thing that sends Buttercup into a tailspin is when I leave the light on but put it hopelessly out of his reach, high on the wall, beyond even his jumping skills. He paces below the wall, wails, and can’t be comforted or distracted. He’s useless until I shut the light off. (That’s what Snow is trying to do to me now, only I don’t know what form his game takes.)

THIS IS REALLY AWKWARD, RIGHT? I can’t quite place my finger on the reason this rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s because Collins creates this metaphor and then meticulously explains it to us. Maybe it’s because the part about Peeta dying doesn’t even make sense. If she cares about Peeta so much, why would she just “move on to other things”?

I don’t know, am I alone in this?

There’s more Finnick in this chapter as well, as Katniss tiptoes to his space that night while everyone is asleep. She needs to talk to someone else besides Prim about what’s happening to her, and hopefully someone who understands.

As I whisper my discovery of Snow’s plan to break me, it dawns on me. This strategy is very old news to Finnick. It’s what broke him.

“This is what they’re doing to you with Annie, isn’t it?” I ask.

“Well, they didn’t arrest her because they thought she’d be a wealth of rebel information,” he says. “They know I’d never have risked telling her anything like that. For her own protection.”

So Snow continues to prove that his main weapon is actually psychological warfare. We saw what he did to Katniss during Catching Fire and it breaks my heart to learn the same thing is happening to Finnick.

“It’s just that I didn’t understand when I met you. After your first Games, I thought the whole romance was an act on your part. We all expected you’d continue that strategy. But it wasn’t until Peeta hit the force field and nearly died that I—“ Finnick hesitates.

I think back to the arena. How I sobbed when Finnick revived Peeta. The quizzical look on Finnick’s face. The way he excused my behavior, blaming it on my pretend pregnancy. “That you what?”

“That I knew I’d misjudged you. That you do love him. I’m not saying in what way. Maybe you don’t know yourself. But anyone paying attention could see how much you care about him,” he says gently.

Turns out that Finnick and Katniss have much more in common than we could have ever imagined. I guess I never really thought about their relationship; it was so strange during Catching Fire, since I couldn’t figure out what he was doing in that book. What little we’ve seen of him in this book has been alternately depressing and hilarious, but it’s clear that we are definitely seeing their friendship grow.

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”

Amen to that, Finnick.

Coin finally allows everyone to leave the bunker and head to their new compartments, as the old ones have been destroyed. But before Katniss can head upstairs, Boggs pulls her, Gale, and Finnick aside and takes them to the new Command center. Guess what? No time to wait for these folks; they’re going back out into the world.

Fortunately, it’s not too far; Coin just wants them to spend a couple hours aboveground to get shots of the bombings for the next set of propos. There’s a cute scene where Finnick offers Katniss a sugar cube for her coffee, which spawns this:

As I turn to go suit up as the Mockingjay, I catch Gale watching me and Finnick unhappily. What now? Does he actually think something’s going on between us? Maybe he saw me go to Finnick’s last night. I would’ve passed the Hawthorne’s space to get there. I guess that probably rubbed him the wrong way. Me seeking out Finnick’s company instead of his. Well, fine. I’ve got rope burn on my fingers, I can barely hold my eyes open, and a camera crew’s waiting for me to do something brilliant. And Snow’s got Peeta. Gale can think whatever he wants.

Good for you, Katniss. Also, the second thought that popped in my head: WILL THIS TURN INTO A LOVE SQUARE. Other shapes are so underused for relationships. WHERE’S THE POLY LOVE?

We emerge into the woods, and my hands run through the leaves overhead. Some are just starting to turn. “What day is it?” I ask no on in particular. Boggs tells me September begins next week.

HOLY SHIT SERIOUSLY. It’s already September??? Man, I seriously thought it was still summertime at this point. Oh god, I feel like I can barely remember the beginning of The Hunger Games.

The group begins to survey the damage. There are four craters aboveground, debris littering everything, and the remains of the top levels sticking out of the ground. Katniss asks if the ten minutes Peeta gave them helped at all, and Boggs is quick to confirm that Peeta’s actions literally saved lives.

Prim, I think. And Gale. They were in the bunker only a couple of minutes before the missile hit. Peeta might have saved them. Add their names to the list of things I can never stop owing him for.

Oh, Peeta. I have a bad feeling about him, but I hope he makes it out alive.

Katniss’s problems with today’s mission start happening almost immediately and no thanks to President Snow for that. As they come upon (what used to be) the entrance to District 13, they find that the ground is covered in fresh pink and red roses. A gift (and a very creepy one) from President Snow. I’m of course reminded of Snow’s gift back at the beginning of the book. (Which now I’m wondering…will it ever be explained why he smells like blood? Just thinking out loud.)

Unfortunately, it’s just the start. The coffee Katniss consumed earlier is giving her the jitters. As Cressida tries to get Katniss in the moment, she is visibly upset by all of this. Even though she just needs to give a few short lines (“Thirteen’s alive and well and so am I” being one of them), she still struggles with that.

I swing my arms to loosen myself up. Place my fists on my hips. Then drop them to my sides. Saliva’s filling my mouth at a ridiculous rate and I feel vomit at the back of my throat. I swallow hard and open my lips so I can get the stupid line out and go hide in the woods and—that’s when I start crying.

It’s impossible to be the Mockingjay. Impossible to complete even this one sentence. Because now I know that everything I say will be directly taken out on Peeta. Result in his torture. But not his death, no, nothing so merciful as that. Snow will ensure that his life is much worse than his death.

I can’t. I can’t. I feel so awful for Katniss, I really do. She has been so utterly selfless for so long and she really needs a chance to be selfish and take care of what’s going on with her life, but the people surrounding her won’t let her.

At first, I was surprised that Haymitch comforted Katniss, but it really does make sense. If there’s anyone in this group uniquely attuned to who she is and what she feels for Peeta, it’s him. He still has some apologizing to do, but I’m glad that he reached out to Katniss and helped her.

What I don’t like is how quick she is drugged and lead away, only to wake up A FULL DAY LATER. Ok, yes, she needs rest and she needs time to take care of herself. LET HER CHOOSE THAT INSTEAD OF DRUGGING HER INTO UNCONSCIOUSNESS. Fucking hell, District 13, THERE ARE VERY FEW THINGS I LIKE ABOUT YOU.

When Katniss awakes, Haymitch is by her side. It’s a direct parallel from the last time this happened, because he’s here to support her, not threaten her. And that’s when he tells her that THEY ARE GOING TO RESCUE PEETA FROM THE CAPITOL.

What? WHAT? Plutarch is sending a rescue team to get Peeta out alive. WHAT.

“Why didn’t we before?” I say.

“Because it’s costly. But everyone agrees this is the thing to do. It’s the same choice we made in the arena. To do whatever it takes to keep you going. We can’t lose the Mockingjay now. And you can’t perform unless you know Snow can’t take it out on Peeta.”

WELL FINALLY. I just wish it didn’t take a NERVOUS BREAKDOWN for these people to realize this.

“What do you mean, costly?”

He shrugs. “Covers will be blown. People may die. But keep in mind that they’re dying every day. And it’s not just Peeta; we’re getting Annie out for Finnick, too.”

!!!!!!!! oh my god FINALLY DISTRICT 13 IS DOING SOMETHING GOOD. We learn that Boggs will lead the mission made up of volunteers.

Something’s wrong. Haymitch’s trying a little too hard to cheer me up. It’s not really his style. “So who else volunteered?”

“I think there were seven altogether,” he says evasively.


Haymitch finally drops the good-natured act. “You know who else, Katniss. You know who stepped up first.”

Of course I do.


GREAT. So let me guess: Katniss is going to beg him not to go, he’ll refuse, and then she’ll tell Coin she should come along with the mission. RIGHT? RIGHT?

Oh god, shit is about to get realer right right right right

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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329 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Chapter 11

  1. bell_erin_a says:

    To answer your question, no, I've never really been broken like that, but I think the closest I've come was about four years ago. My family and I had gone up to Ohio in March to see my grandmother, who was dealing with the final stages of cancer, and the first night we were there was absolutely terrible. She'd been on the pain meds long enough to make her paranoid, so sometimes giving her pain meds was complicated because she'd wonder if you were overdosing her. But she was in so much pain, she was whimpering and it was a truly horrible thing to hear. However, she still had enough presence of mind to ask where the grandkids were and if they were somewhere else, safely away from all of this. My mom told her we were upstairs, and although my siblings were, I was hiding in the kitchen and trying not to cry. She was pretty lucid the remaining few days we were there, which was good, because that was the last time I saw her before she died, and I can't get the memory of her screaming in pain, but also making sure we were okay out of my head.

    The citizens of 13 are truly starved for entertainment.
    Hmmm, you must need a Hunger Games, yes? Also, no, it's not you. Crazy Cat paragraph is definitely awkward. More ~explaining~ for the YA audience? Why so awkward, though?

    Before me lies Snow’s second delivery. Long-stemmed pink and red beauties, the very flowers that decorated the set where Peeta and I performed our post-victory interview.
    Man, Snow may be pretty ineffective on the evil dictator, actually getting evil dictator agendas accomplished, but you have to hand it to him. Dude is creepy.

    “Plutarch’s sending in a rescue team. He has people on the inside. He thinks we can get Peeta back alive,” he says.
    FUCK YEAH D13 IS GOING TO GO GET PEETA (AND JOHANNA AND ANNIE)! “COSTLY” CAN GO TO HELL BECAUSE “EVERYONE AGREES THIS IS THE THING TO DO!” AND IT ONLY TOOK YOU FOOLS ELEVEN CHAPTERS TO FIGURE THIS OUT, YOU GUYS WIN AT LIFE! Also, I apparently have no authority to make these people do what I want. Next time I’ll have to ask Buttercup to get their asses moving on things, I suppose.

    ~Conspiracy~ of the day: You know why Gale's going? It's because Gale is Snow. Snale time-travels, and Gale is Snow from earlier in his life. Or he's Dumbledore. What? Oh, I must be getting my ridiculous theories mixed up. :p

    • andreah1234 says:



      Buttercup, please show this fools how it's done.

      ETA: I really I'm sorry about your grandma (Note to self: Read the comments completely and do not skip over to everything Finnick. /shame) My grandmother is one of the most important (if not the most important) person in my life, because when my mom had to work she was the one that took care of me and my brother, even now that I'm older I still like to sit with her drinking coffee and listen to all of her crazy stories. I don't know what I would do if I had to go through, and I'm really sorry you did. Your grandma sounded awesome though and I'm glad you keep a good memory of her (worring about her grandchildren) even in those moments of pain. 🙂

      • bell_erin_a says:

        Horrible listening skills, D13 has them. Either that, or they must all be deaf because I've been yelling loudly enough that they should be able to hear me! I feel like this series would go a lot better if everyone would just listen to me…

        Thanks. And your excitement for Finnick is entirely understandable and completely okay! 😉

    • ferriswheeljunky says:

      Your grandmother sounds like an awesome lady.

  2. Darion! says:

    Poor Katniss. ;-;
    But yay! Rescuing Peeta!
    And I love Haymitch. <3
    And, that's all I got.

  3. ilram says:

    Now that you point it out the Crazy Cat metaphor is a bit awkwardly phrased.

    Thank god they're trying to do something about the prisoners finally.

  4. PatR says:

    Crap, now I have to wait a whole weekend for the next installment? Crap crap crap.

  5. Hotaru-hime says:

    Yeah, that Crazy Cat paragraph IS weird. I don't know why the metaphor had to be explained so thoroughly.

    • Liiiiizzzz says:

      Haha, yes. Future boyfriends beware, if you ever bring me roses I will consider it a sinister mind game. Try tacos instead.

      • tethysdust says:

        Mmm, tacos. That would be a sure way to my heart.

      • ldwy says:

        Haha, fantastic comment.
        Not tacos for me though.

        You know what I would do if I were my fictional perfect boyfriend? (awkward cyclical idea is awkward…)
        I would make a bouquet by cutting out flower shapes and sticking them on "stems" of Cowtails. Those candies are weird as all get out, but I could eat a million, they're so good. 🙂 Haha. Enough of that now.

        • theanagrace says:

          Cowtails! Yes! I love those things and I can only get them at the specialty candy shop downtown. Now I have a craving. Poo.

  6. Karen says:

    Yeah the crazy cat metaphor is totally weird, and kind of unnecessary if you ask me.

    If she cares about Peeta so much, why would she just “move on to other things”?
    I think what Katniss is trying to say is that at least if Peeta were dead and she knew it, then she could have closure, but that this not knowing and waiting is torturous and Snow knows that and is using it to his advantage.

    I LOVE Finnick and Katniss's friendship too. He's really the only one who truly understands her and knows what she is going through right now. Katniss was trying to deny her feelings for Peeta for so long, but now that he's in the clutches of the Capitol, she's forced to admit her feelings when she sees how Snow is using her feelings for Peeta against her. Poor Katniss. But Finnick is awesome in that even though he's broken too, he does what little he can to help her. ALSO, that moment when he makes her smile with the sugar joke? AWESOME.

    Speaking of which, STFU GALE. This isn't about you. This isn't about your stupid relationship drama with Katniss. In case you haven't noticed, Katniss is severely messed up. If Finnick can make her laugh, so be it. Don't be a jealous turd about it. I love that Katniss is basically like "Fuck him. Gale can think what he wants. I have more important things to deal with than Gale's jealousy." Like I get that back in the day, Gale was pretty much Katniss's only friend and the only one who understood her, but that's changed. Katniss has other people in her life now who she loves and who love her and who she can rely on. SORRY IF THAT'S A PROBLEM FOR YOU, GALE.

    Re: Haymitch. If there’s anyone in this group uniquely attuned to who she is and what she feels for Peeta, it’s him.
    Ok, I said before that Finnick was the only one who understood Katniss, but I take that back. I think Haymitch can understand too, to a degree. In spite of the way he's been treating Katniss, I think it's pretty obvious that he cares for her a lot and he feels the same way about Peeta. It's why Katniss reaches out to Haymitch when she breaks down. She knows that Haymitch is hurting over what's happening to Peeta too.

  7. andreah1234 says:

    YES MOAR FINNICK!!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3…Oh, Wait. 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

    Is it bad that the only thing I could think of when they said they were going to rescue them was: "WELL I'VE BEEN TELLING YOU TO DO THAT SINCE THE BOOK STARTED. REALLY 13, YOU ARE A HORRIBLE LISTENER!". Followed by: "YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS JOHANNA AND ANNIE AND PEEEEETAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 /dies". Wrong reaction? I think so.

    And I don't think Finnick will become a love interest for Katniss. I think he's just what she needs: a friend who gets her and only wants to be that. A friend. Girl has wayyyy to many guys that play the friend game to maybe be something else *cough*gale*cough*. Who was an asshole this chapter BTW. And he didn't even speak.

    Yeah, The crazy cat was a bit (a lot, ahem) awkward because, well we get it. We don't need to have it explain, and it sorf of ruins it. But well I can overlook that because:

    THEY ARE COMING BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *party*

    • I like Finnick as a platonic friendship, sort of in a brotherly sense. I have a lot of platonic male friends who are closer than a romantic partner, and I kind of see Finnick that way.

      Even more importantly, TELL GALE NOT TO RETURN WITHOUT JOHANNA!

    • Kripa says:

      Yeah, also, FINNICK IS FUCKING IN HIS 20s. If he were 30 and Katniss were 23, that's one thing, but 24 and 17? DNW.

  8. MeasuringInLove says:

    Lololol, I love playing Crazy Cat. Except I don't have a cat, so I use my brother. It works just as well.

    FFF I HATE DISTRICT THIRTEEN AND THEIR ABUSE OF KATNISS. I hate the constant drugging, the using her for all the propos, the fact that ONLY NOW are they attempting to get the others out. HATE.

  9. monkeybutter says:

    Nah, the Crazy Cat paragraph is really awkward, but it is worth a laugh if it makes you think of Krazy Kat.

    Again, I really like Katniss's conversations with Finnick, because unlike nearly every talk she's had with Gale and Peeta, her words aren't fraught with guilt and confusion. I think it's good for both of them to have someone they can speak to freely and who understands what the other one is going through. It's like she has a friend!

    At the end, I thought Katniss had organophosphate poisoning from the roses and was really tense and ready to yell GET THAT GIRL SOME ATROPINE, so I was somewhat relieved that she was having a nervous breakdown. Which sounds incredibly wrong. The girl who refused to buckle, who did all she could to support her family, who stubbornly resisted the Capitol is now a frazzled mess. I want Snow to die almost as much as I want Katniss to get better.

    • Pretty soon I'm going to be mentally gunning for Coin, because she's nearly as bad. At least Snow likes botany. 😉

      Luna Lovegood reference ftw.

    • bookling says:

      Oh, I agree about Finnick. She needs someone to talk to who's not head over heels in love with her. And YAY THEY'RE GOING TO SAVE ANNIE. I think I was more excited about Annie than I was about Peeta, just because Finnick seems so much worse off than Katniss and because Annie is less able to take care of herself than Peeta. Plus, don't you want to meet the girl who Finnick Odair loves?

      • Curiosity Shoppe says:

        Actually, I want to BE the girl Finnick Odair loves, but as that's impossible, I'll settle for meeting her.

        What, should I not have said that out loud?

    • notemily says:

      I love Krazy Kat!!

  10. Kaci says:

    I think the reference to the fact that she, Katniss, would move on if Peeta were truly gone isn’t meant to imply that she doesn’t care for him, just that when someone is trul gone from us in that way, we mourn them for awhile, but eventually the pain lessens a little and we are able to go on with our lives. It doesn’t mean we didn’t care for them, only that that’s the way life works.

    • kajacana says:

      I want to print this comment, make copies, and go staple it to every copy of New Moon I can find.

    • t09yavorski says:

      Katniss would probably hide in supply closets for a while but eventually someone (probably Haymitch) would drag her out by her hair and make her get on with life.

      Also, remember, she told us in the first book that she would never let herself breakdown like her mother did. So if she had responsibilities that would hopefully help her to keep moving forward.

      She would blame herself for the rest of her life though.

  11. RachelHs says:

    The only time Gale isn't being a turdmuffin in this book. Good for him for going to rescue them. Also, I just want to hug Katniss 🙁

    • This was a good way to show that Gale does have a self-sacrificing affection for Katniss, since he's putting his own feelings on the backseat and is willing to die to bring back who she needs most. (I am not a Gale fan, but I respect this move.)

  12. msfeasance says:

    Man, now I really want to know what happened with Johanna and the Capitol. Did she just piss off the Capitol to the extent that Snow the Florist of Doom killed all her family? Or was everyone she loved dead before she even entered the Games?

    I also love how when Snow wants to fuck with you, he just sends a tasteful floral arrangement that he knows you hate. It's far less effort than what the Corleones did in The Godfather.

    • cait0716 says:

      Florist of Doom. hehe. He should team up with Sweeney Todd.

    • Florist of Doom? Tasteful floral arrangement? Are you my twin or what? 😀

    • Alexis says:

      Being who I am, I ended up writing a whole backstory for Johanna. Imagine if you will:
      So, Johanna falls in love with another girl in her district(I'm a lesbian and I've always gotten a 'fellow sister vibe' from Johanna). Her parents aren't okay with this so they disown her. She's heartbroken but she's in love so she's happy. Then, her name gets drawn at the reaping. She plays the game as her BAMF self but when she comes home, her girlfriend can't handle what she did in the games, not too mention all of the emotional aftermath. It's super heartbreaking but it's what I picture 🙁

  13. stellaaaaakris says:

    I really did not enjoy this latest edition of Katniss Explains It All. I don't know what about it exactly bothers me because I would never have gotten the metaphor without an explanation, but maybe the fact that it's so thoroughly spelled out. And the use of parentheses. Collins rarely uses parentheses and there were 3 sets of them in one paragraph.

    On another note, every time Buttercup is around, my brain provides background music, such as "Why do you build me up (build me up)/Buttercup baby/Just to let me down (let me down)/And mess me around" and it continues for a good part of the song.

    It's about time you guys put a rescue mission together! We've been suggesting it in the comments for chapters already!

    That bit of good news aside, this chapter breaks my heart. Katniss' pain feels so real. Gone is the emotional range of a teaspoon, she's hurting so much that I'm rather uncomfortable being in her fictional head. God, it must suck to be her. The events in the past (e.g. the shooting of the old man in 11, the bombing of 8), Katniss has felt was her fault, even though clearly they weren't. Capitol's fault. But while I still place the blame almost entirely on the Capitol's doorstep, it's harder to reason with her when her words will directly lead to harm for Peeta.

    One thing I didn't understand: What would Katniss have done if Finnick had warned her before the Quell? How would that have helped? Maybe she'd have kept a closer eye on Peeta, but I see problems with that as well.

    • tethysdust says:

      Yeah, the whole explanation could've been shortened to maybe a sentence or two, something like: "Then it hits me. Peeta is just as tantalizingly unattainable to me as the light is to Prim's cat." (I'm not claiming my random sentence is superior, I'm just agreeing that she could have used the metaphor MUCH more concisely.) I'm pretty sure most people have played this game, or seen someone play this game, with a cat before. They could work out the implications.

    • ldwy says:

      That song is clearly the theme of Katniss' hot and cold relationship with Buttercup.

  14. valely199 says:

    WILL THIS TURN INTO A LOVE SQUARE. Other shapes are so underused for relationships. WHERE’S THE POLY LOVE?

    Best line ever. Siriusly.

  15. christwriter says:

    I wouldn't exactly call it the same kind of breaking, because for me, there never was any one moment where I snapped that I couldn't recover from. You know. More or less.

    But when I was eighteen my parents split up. I was really sheltered–homeschooled with religious upbringing, the whole virgin-till-marrige-you-don't-date thing, whole nine yards, really–so losing my family kinda made things go pop. The friction before the divorce got me started on self injury, but it wasn't a problem. It was a thing I did once. Then it was a thing I did twice, and my parents caught me both times and talked with me about it.

    Then my mother moved me in with my Aunt, who was an alcoholic and verbally abusive when drunk, and it was not safe for me to cry around her. I was "just doing it for attention". Crying is how I release stress. It's not nice for the people around me, but if you leave me alone long enough for me to get over the whatever-it-was, I'll be fine within five minutes of stopping. But in that situation, crying was an offence against god and nature and was Not Allowed. EVERYONE would crowd around me and try to make me stop. And it wasn't just the crying .I wasn't a good Christian because I wrote stories with people who swore in them (nevermind that The Aunt liked to call out, "Look at that N****R" when she saw a black pedestrian. According to her they were only worth five points. White children were worth ten) I wasn't a good person because I conversed with other people on the internet. I didn't read right. I didn't do right. I didn't talk to people enough, or else I talked too much or…and I'd be crying again, and the conversation would go on for three hours instead of just one, always on me. It got to where I couldn't eat downstairs, because they would watch me. How I ate. What I put on my food.

    So I began taking regular trips up to the bathroom. It was quiet, the one place in that god-awful house that really was quiet, nobody bothered me there, and if I sat on the edge of the bathtub a shower would wash all the evidence away. It was my left ankle. Always. Because if I started wearing gloves or long sleeves somebody would notice, but nobody ever asks you why you're wearing socks. (especially not in that house. If you wore socks you could mop up the cat piss for them on the way to the fridge)

    I realized I had a problem when the urge became a compulsion. One night I wanted to sleep, but I also wanted to cut and the way my thoughts were racing, I couldn't go to sleep. So I got up, I did it, I went back to bed, and the next morning I woke up thinking "Wow. This is a problem." I tried fixing it there, and found out pretty quickly that I couldn't. I remember once I bought food, take out, and I made the mistake of eating it in front of my grandfather without giving him any first. I'd worked a long day as waitstaff at a tea room, I'd just gotten paid, and shishkabob and rice was all I wanted in the world. I was the most selfish, disrespectful creature he'd ever heard of, and it took a really long time for that particular episode to heal up.

    I moved in with my Dad eventually, though it wasn't because of how they treated me. It was because they were starting in on my mom and I just couldn't listen to it anymore. Thing is … I did not break. The "me" in me did not break, there was no moment when I lost control and started screaming and screaming until I couldn't stop. I was never so overwelmed that I could not find some way to handle it, but I was pushed past all acceptable methods of dealing. I survived that time of my life, but my primary coping mechanism for internal pain became external pain, and that's not a good thing. And every time I want to put ketchup on meat, and there are people around, I always get this little pain in the pit of my stomach. Like, oh god, I hope they're not watching me.

  16. The Crazy Cat thing was totally bizarre. It seemed like Collins really enjoyed fucking with her own cat, as we all do, and decided that she should write it into her dystopian YA series because, hey, no one's going to stop her now, are they? And since she needed to justify it, she turned it into a metaphor. And as soon as she hit Save, she pulled out her flashlight and pointed it at the wall and laughed maniacally, crying, "Dance, Catniss, dance!"

    • bookling says:

      I kind of see where she was going with it – Katniss teasing Buttercup like the Captiol's teasing her with Peeta – but the way she wrote it is super clunky. It was over-explained and definitely could have been written better.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      "It seemed like Collins really enjoyed fucking with her own cat, as we all do, and decided that she should write it into her dystopian YA series because, hey, no one's going to stop her now, are they?"

      To me, it felt like the first part was meant as a demonstration of how different District 13/Panem in general is to our current society and how much times have changed. A sort of "here's this thing that people often do and take for granted, and here's how people in this book react to it. Isn't it sad how novel and amazing it seems to them? And isn't it also sad that you take it for granted?"

      I think that sort of thing works great in introductions to futuristic settings (the opening scene of Wall-E come to mind), but here in the middle of a book it just seems grating to me.

    • notemily says:

      Dude, every cat owner enjoys fucking with their cat. Not like in a serial-killer torture way, but in a "cats are bastards and it's fun to make them look ridiculous" way. I think it's because they take themselves so SERIOUSLY all the time. (Also, perhaps, the principle behind LOLcats?)

  17. Lynn says:

    Ok, I felt like Gale was wearing his heart on his sleeve (which could have been really hard on Katniss) about the whole Finnick thing. But I will cut him some slack. He is kind of loosing her as there is a wedge between them now and it is undeniable that they are not as close anymore and growing further apart daily. But really terrible timing on his part. I know he is not trying to be selfish though and that is why I cut him some slack.

    Also I cut him some slack, because I think by his volunteering for the Peeta rescue mission that he is doing this only for Katniss. It must have hurt him to see Katniss so broken.

    As much as I personally like Peeta, I post all of this too to let the die hard Gale fans know that I am keeping an open mind about him. I think he has some great qualities and I understand what a horrible position he is in. And I hope that if anyone responds we can keep this from being a Gale vs Peeta thing. They both have their great points and faults and of course we don't all respond to them the same way because we are all different people with different experiences to shape our responses. But I don't want to get into team discussions in response to my comment because I am Team whatever Katniss wants (even if it is to marry Buttercup – go beastiality)

    • bendemolena says:

      Unity upvote!

    • thatonegirl says:

      I love me some Peeta, but I'm willing to cut Gale some slack too about the whole Finnick thing. He might not really know Finnick as a person, but he's probably aware of his reputation. (even Katniss knew about that, so I'm sure Gale would have picked up on it too). Maybe Gale was being more overprotective than jealous? (keep that pervert away from Katniss kind of thing) But I don't know. Jealous still seems the most likely.
      I think he may have had a couple of reasons for volunteering to rescue Peeta (even if Peeta is kind of his main romantic rival). It helps keep Katniss together, and it also keeps the rebellion going. I think Gale feels pretty strongly about both of those.

      • Lynn says:

        Good point about how even if Gale had no emotional ties to Katniss he believes in the rebellion and the importance of Katniss' role enough to go based on that alone. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that it was secondary to going for Katniss' mental health. Since we aren't in his head will never know exactly.

    • cait0716 says:

      I agree with you. At this point in the book, I still loved both Gale and Peeta and hadn't really settled on a team. They're both great guys, just trying their best.

    • Hanh says:

      I would just also like to add that Gale's jealousy is completely natural. In fact, involuntary if you remember back to Katniss being jealous of Madge for bringing over medicine. It's not like Gale is losing his shit and telling Katniss 'No you can't talk to him.' I don't see Gale being an asshole at all in this chapter.

  18. mugglemomof2 says:

    Good for you, Katniss. Also, the second thought that popped in my head: WILL THIS TURN INTO A LOVE SQUARE. Other shapes are so underused for relationships. WHERE’S THE POLY LOVE?
    this is the best (as in funny) I would be pretty pissed if Collins did this since it would diminish Finnick's love for Annie!

    Fucking hell, District 13, THERE ARE VERY FEW THINGS I LIKE ABOUT YOU.
    Yup. You can say that again.

    Gale rescuing Peeta-
    This was my first prediction about Mockingjay that came true. I called this waiting for book 3 to come out! (I am all knowing LOL)

  19. kajacana says:

    The Crazy Cat part pissed me off, to be honest. Those little "METAPHORS: LET ME EXPLAIN THEM TO YOU" parts always rip me right out of the story. Collins was pushing it with The Hanging Tree (let it be known that I just Googled "Mark reads the hanging tree" to make double sure you had read that part already — THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BECOME), but the Crazy Cat nonsense is even worse. To actually SAY, in actual words, "I am this and Peeta is that and this is why"…. it's too much. I could forgive the Hanging Tree explanation because it was more subtle, but this was like Collins just thought of a metaphor and was impressed by her own cleverness and worked it into the story with a sledgehammer. It's the cookies on the train all over again — who plays a game with a cat and is inspired to muse poetically in neat and tidy metaphors? All right, so I've never been trapped in an underground bunker. I don't know what that can make you do. But still. STILL.

    Also Finnick I looooooooove you.

  20. Becky says:


    You're forgetting Annie! Love pentagon! 🙂

  21. Becca says:

    I guess I kind of understood the crazy cat paragraph. I sometimes will just start relating everyday things that I do to things that are going on in my life… it's like a miniature form of therapy because I'll just start thinking about it when I'm doing something else and start relating it to that problem.

    Also, I don't think Katniss was saying that she would move on easily if Peeta died, I think she was saying that it would be less of a burden for her if he died. She wouldn't have to worry so much. I think this paragraph that you quoted sums it up well:

    It’s impossible to be the Mockingjay. Impossible to complete even this one sentence. Because now I know that everything I say will be directly taken out on Peeta. Result in his torture. But not his death, no, nothing so merciful as that. Snow will ensure that his life is much worse than his death.

  22. Lynn says:

    I did not have a break in this way. I experienced depression but it slowly creeped up on me. It was so subtle and gradual that I didn't even recognize it for what it was until my father did because he had experienced depression for a lot of his life. And I didn't even live in the same city. So I can't call it truly reaching my breaking point.

    I was in medical school and just felt like I was spinning my wheels, no energy, concentration problems, general sadness/worthlessness etc. The worst part is that when I started treatment and went to tell the heads of my courses they were so NOT HELPFUL. I just wanted them to know that if I showed a dip in my scores on the next test that this was the reason. But that I was getting treatment (which is not instant) and that I would be doing better. They responded more as if I had no right to be this way and that I better pick myself up quickly if I was going to be able to keep up with the load of work. Luckily I did, but it sucked not being understood. I even had one professor tell me "Are you sure, because I see you smile sometimes". Yeah, life depressed people don't try and hide the fact that they are depressed. And you're a doctor…….just GREAT! (heavy sarcasm)

  23. Erica says:

    Yeah, the Crazy Cat metaphor is a fail.

    I still felt badly for Katniss in this chapter. When she burst out crying in front of everyone, only to be drugged a few minutes later because no one knew how to handle her…very painful. :/ Poor girl.

    On the subject of breaking points, oh yeah, I've definitely had a few. Oddly enough, what seemed like the most traumatizing ordeal to the ones who know about it (incarceration) is the the one instance I felt most together. Although the way Katniss is treated in an almost subhuman way in an underground compound definitely brings back unpleasant memories.

  24. warmouth says:

    God everything is just so sad and I totally feel for Katniss. Still, I'm glad Collins went with the angle of D13 not really being that much better than the Capitol, seeing as how the world is rarely black and white.
    All the sads!
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

    But wait, what's this? They're going to save Peeta, Annie aka "The-mysteriously-only-normal-named-person" and Johanna! I feel all warm and fuzzy like…like…
    <img src=""&gt;
    Yeah, kinda like a pack of corgi puppies.

  25. Blabbla says:

    "Good for you, Katniss. Also, the second thought that popped in my head: WILL THIS TURN INTO A LOVE SQUARE. Other shapes are so underused for relationships. WHERE’S THE POLY LOVE?"

    This is now canon for me. Katniss/Finnick/Peeta AND NONE FOR GALE HAWTHORNE, BYE

  26. adev0tchka says:

    I think what Katniss means when she says that if Peeta dies she'll move on to other things is that she may finally find some peace. She mentions later on that it would be merciful for Snow to just kill him. Right now it's killing her that they're probably torturing him mercilessly and fucking him up in unimaginable ways, so if she found out that they simply killed him, I think she would grieve, but ultimately remind herself that the Capitol now has no hold over her and nothing that she wants. As awful as it sounds, a great weight would probably be lifted off her shoulders because she won't have to deal with the agony of her guilt anymore.

    Moving on…I really want MOAR FINNICK BACKSTORY. When I read his conversation with Katniss, I was just dying to know more about him and his past. Something tells me he had to go through some pretty messed up things to become who he is today. I'm also curious about Annie and what makes him love her so much.

    Finally, your mention of POLY LOVE immediately made me think of polygamy. Um, why does my mind work this way??

  27. accio doublestuff says:

    Something’s wrong. Haymitch’s trying a little too hard to cheer me up. It’s not really his style. “So who else volunteered?”

    Haymitch finally drops the good-natured act. “You know who else, Katniss. You know who stepped up first.”

    Of course I do.


    please don't get mad if you're a gale fan….but i don't understand what the big deal about gale volunteering is. the fact that collins makes this so dramatic felt off to me. clearly she loves gale (platonically or not, she still loves him), and would feel sad and guilty if she lost him, but katniss is very mature given everything she's had to deal with. collins is treating her like a baby. it felt like a soap opera moment..i could almost hear the cheesy dramatic music playing in the background as haymitch paused.

    maybe it's because collins has used this technique before (at the end of catching fire when gale is like "there is no district twelve") and it feels a little old at this point. but katniss would feel worried no matter who was going, and i think collins drawing attention to the fact that gale went is a disservice to katniss as a character by this point. we know katniss already feels horribly guilty about all the people she's killed, directly or indirectly, and if more people died or got hurt in their attempt to rescue peeta, she would feel guilty about that too. it doesn't matter that gale specifically is going. and if it does, the readers already know what it means to katniss if gale dies in the attempt. we don't need this whole haymitch making a big deal about it thing in order to understand that.

    • bendemolena says:

      Because if something goes wrong, and Gale is captured, he'll be in the same awful boat as Peeta. Remember how Prim said that the Capital can't reach her, her mother or Gale because they're all in 13 together with her? Well, not only does the rescue mission prevent the possibility of a dead Gale, but let's be real: Snow knows exactly who he is, and I'm sure anyone with the ability to capture him has been made aware of who he is too. So the threat isn't that Gale is going to die, necessarily, but that Gale can be captured and used against her just as much as Peeta has been.

      That's how I see it, anyway.

      • thatonegirl says:

        Ahh! That thought is too scary for me to handle. Let's just all assume that the rescue mission-ers have those little poison tablets that Katniss got earlier in the book. Please?

    • Saber says:

      I hear cheesy music every time I read that line too *Highfives*

  28. Fuchsia says:

    I’m curious to know how many of you have ever reached a breaking point in your life. I’ve had a few of them over the years. Unfortunately, two times it involved suicide attempts. The third time I felt “broken” I ran away from home.

    Absolutely me. I tried to kill myself when I was thirteen, which was the first one. When I was fifteen, my dad died and I just… completely shut down (I really don't remember the month following his death). All through high school, I'd do what my friend called "playing possum" whenever things got really bad, I'd just sit there and not move, not react to anything, because it was my only means of "dealing". My worst, though, happened when I was in college. In a span of a few months, my sister almost died in a car crash (like, should have died except a medic happened to be right there at the scene), my first boyfriend got into cocaine and cheated on me, among lots of other shitty things; I started drinking a lot more than before (I had just turned 21 and didn't know how to control myself), and I lost my best friend due to some really stupid mistakes on my part, something he still won't forgive me for (and part of me understands completely). It all culminated in getting rufied while I was out celebrating my birthday with my sister, thankfully she took care of me (even though I punched her in the face… I do not react well to blackouts, okay? Part of me realizes "Hey, you have no idea what's going on, YOU HAVE TO FIGHT AND KEEP YOURSELF PROTECTED"), and my mom had to drive up to Boston at 4am to come get me. The end result? I dropped out of college and spent about six months just feeling like an empty shell, including dating a guy who treated me like crap and raped me, and then stalked me when I broke up with him, so I'm forever damaged by that. (But once I got myself back together, things improved a lot. Except for my relationship with my best friend. And my paranoia about going to bars. And generally not trusting anyone.) I ran away to Chicago to escape. It worked, for a while, but now I'm desperate to leave Chicago for other reasons. Which is another breakdown I'm going through right now.

    Ahem. Onto the chapter.

    I think the Crazy Cat section would have been sufficient with just, "This reminds me of how Snow is playing with me and Peeta" or something along those lines. Short, succinct, and understandable. That's it. As it's written, yes, it's Awkward Town. That being said, I like the scene of Katniss playing with Buttercup and just picturing everyone in the bunker gathered around because, well… people react like that to cats playing with lights, it's true. And somehow, it does provide lots of entertainment. And Buttercup is awesome.

    And I love Finnick's conversation with Katniss, even though it's full of sad. I love that she has someone she can open up to, who gets it, and isn't afraid to tell her how it really is. And "Want a sugar cube?" I love you Finnick, never change. <3 <3 <3 <3

    AND THE RESCUE MISSION!!! IT'S ABOUT TIME, 13! Although they're not doing it because those people deserve to be rescued, they're just doing it so they'll be able to use Katniss as the Mockingjay some more. But whatever. Their motives aren't great but at least Peeta, Annie and Johanna will be rescued!

    • Treasure Cat says:

      <random sharing>I want to hug you for your story but I cant so I upvoted you instead.</random sharing>

    • thecheapshot says:

      *actually reads comments* This is just…wow – thank you so much for sharing. I hope you're able to find a way to escape Chicago and be happy again. *curses the feeling of uselessness in internet hugs*

      • Fuchsia says:

        Thanks (I'm just now getting around to comments, oops). Chicago itself isn't too bad, but the way things have been going, I really want to be a lot closer to my family and only being able to see them once a year is not good. I was supposed to move in June but due to finances and my friend bailing on our plans, I don't think that's going to happen. 🙁

  29. lisra says:

    In some ways yes. I turned my live to self harm and alcohol for a while and did other stupid things. I have felt paralysed by fear and grief and wished so hard that time would just stop.
    It's pretty hard to write that without sounding overly dramatic.

    Then ultimately, I left the country. Because of a result of therapy and my own resolve I spread the breaking over a time, so I only realized much later that this is why I emigrated. Anyway.

    I'm with Mark here. As I said before the absue and the way Katniss is used by 13 and the capitol are terrible, absolutely terrible. The way she is drugged AGAIN AND AGAIN without consent (brain damage, do you know it?!) is just the most visible.. it is hard. I wished too she could just leave this all behind. It is so hard to read.

    On a more positive note.. FINNICK! He really grew on me.

  30. cait0716 says:

    I've reached a breaking point, but it was sort of the opposite. For years my father had been putting me down. He called me arrogant, rude, conceited, disrespectful, self-absorbed, and on and on. It led to some pretty bad times.

    Then my brother got his midterm grades and he was failing his science course. I was informed that this was because I was such a bad influence on him and had basically failed in my role as the big sister role model. The thing is, I was studying physics at one of the best colleges in the country at the time. These two pieces of information simply didn't compute and something inside my brain just snapped. Instead of crying, I laughed and finally realized that it wasn't about me at all. It took a lot longer to really heal, but that was a big step.

    There were other breaking points, both on the slipping into depression side of things and the finally realizing I need help side. But that was a big one.

    • Melissa says:

      That sounds more like the breaking moment I had, as well. My dad was verbally and physically abuse on an infrequent, but consistent, scale my whole life. It fucked my sister up hugely; I don’t think she’s ever really worked through it. But I had this moment once when he caught me in our driveway and started choking me – I had spontaneously started running away after the first hit and was at the road, when my mom called to me to please come back, which broke my resolve, and I turned around. He had gotten into his truck to chase me down, and when I caught up to it, he got out and started choking me, screaming that I wasn’t going to blackmail him and ranting about paranoid fears that were so obviously based in non-reality, that I realized all of the abuse had nothing to do with me or my behavior. If I hadn’t been raking leaves “too slowly” that day, he would have found something else to snap over, and the outcome would have been the same. Because whatever his illness was, that was the day it was manifesting itself. Oddly, in my case, being the little sister left at home alone with the abuser and enabler was what gave me the perspective I needed.

  31. bendemolena says:

    Does anyone else find it troublesome that Katniss keeps thinking in terms of, 'I owe such and such persons x, y and z because of this, this and that"? I mean.. I understand why she does. That's how life in 12 most likely was, but I feel like if only she could shake the sense of obligation she's been used to for she'd feel a lot better, because through all this not many people are asking her for anything in return for other things.

    I dunno if that makes sense. :O

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      Every time it happens, I get bashed over the head with a blunt object and physically dragged out of the story.

      I find it more annoying than problematic, probably because it seems like one of those things that Katniss thinks about for a minute or two and then summarily forgets until she decides "oh no, I owe yet another person and the list of IOUs is getting insurmountable."

      It kinda feels like Collins was going for a Cunningham-family-in-To-Kill-a-Mockingbird effect, but in an extremely unsubtle way. In TKAM it was incorporated into the plot, but here it just seems unnecessary.

    • Phoebe says:

      Definitely. Alot of people also owe Katniss, so she needs to stop being so hard on herself. *cough BELLA SWAN cough*
      not nearly as bad but, sorry, its getting similar…

  32. Fuchsia says:

    Katniss got a lovely delivery of roses from Snow just in time for Valentine's Day.

    Snow ~loves~ Katniss.

  33. embers says:

    To answer your question: there was a point where I was devoid of hope, feeling flat/emotionless and depressed (there was a time I considered suicide), but I have been lucky in never really being broken.

    This is a power series of novels because Katniss does find the strength to move on in her life, which is good for youthful readers to have experienced a lot of pain and loss.

    I'll be looking forward to your review on Monday!

  34. hermy0209 says:

    "Oh god, shit is about to get realer right right right right"

    we dont have to tell you mark…shit is going to get soooooooooo real… have never been so unprepared than for what is coming…just wait…

    PEEEETTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!! im so excited that they FINALLY decided to go recue him, i mean come on, about damn time!

    also im gonna say TEAM KATNISS because i feel she needs one right now, poor girl….things just need to get better for her….like right now Collins!!! plzandthankyou!!! 😀 😀

  35. Yeah, it is amazing how many people get drugged against their will in this trilogy, isn't it? I'm begining to think it's a motto of Panem or something. Panem: We drug you against your will because we care!
    As for the cat metaphor thing, I chalk it up to Katniss not really being in her right mind at the moment. I bet when people have the emotiona and physical stuff going on that she's had in these past three books, their minds will think up some weird stuff too.

  36. HungryLikeLupin says:

    Man, just reliving this chapter through this review almost made me cry. It's so ridiculously hard to read, because I think everyone has had one of those moments where you're trying to get through something, just get through it so that you can be alone and fall apart, until finally you just can't hold yourself together anymore. And as awful as those moments are already, it has to be a thousand times worse for Katniss who has the added pressure of trying to be the face of the freakin' revolution.

    The line they want her to say always strikes me–as do most of the lines these people write for her, seriously–as completely ridiculous and unbelievable. “Thirteen’s alive and well and so am I." Is Katniss alive? Certainly. Well? Not so much. Of course she can't say the line; from anything other than a strictly physical standpoint, it's a flat-out lie. That's why it makes sense to me, from a literary standpoint, that D13's solution to this is to immediately drug her into forced sleep so that she can "recover". They don't care about her mental well-being, don't care that while she certainly does need to sleep, probably the last thing she needs is another reminder that she's not actually in control of her own fate. They've fixed the immediate physical problem, and they've done so in a way that sharply reinforces the fact that they see Katniss as more of an object than a person.

    Of course, they do make some attempt to ensure her mental and emotional well-being. But while I appreciate Haymitch's attempt to assure Katniss that though people might die in Peeta's rescue, they're dying anyway, that still engenders a whole new round of pressure for her. People will probably die doing this thing that they wouldn't bother with if not for Katniss, so when they get him back she better be able to pull herself together and be the Mockingjay, or else all of that will have been wasted effort.

    The sad fact is that no one else seems to really care if they get Peeta back or not; if his imprisonment and torture weren't impeding Katniss's ability to work, I don't think that it would bother anyone in D13 too terribly much. Doubly tragic, that, because Peeta is probably one of the best people in the books (he reminds me a bit, in fact, of Cedric Diggory; I can't help it :lol:), and no one but Katniss seems to really care whether he lives or dies.

    I really adore the scene where Finnick tells Katniss how he realized that she loves Peeta. She's been trying for the better part of the series to sort out her feelings for Peeta and Gale, all within the context of never actually wanting to get married and/or have children, oh yeah and constantly fighting for her life as the Capitol tries to kill her. It's extra stress that she doesn't really need. Then here's Finnick, telling her that he's sure she loves Peeta, and that while it might not be romantic love that doesn't make it any less valuable. He doesn't demand an explanation from her, doesn't seem to expect her to choose one of these boys over another, or even to define the kind of love she feels. He just quietly lets her know that it's okay for her to love Peeta in whatever way she does.


    • Clare says:

      "he's sure she loves Peeta, and that while it might not be romantic love that doesn't make it any less valuable."

      This is a point that needs to be made OVER and OVER and OVER!
      Also I love how you described Katniss' situation with D13 and how they constantly don't bother caring about her as a person. What you said about the script they gave her to say that she couldn't get through is SO true.

    • Dian says:

      I’m sorry, are there different versions of 2012?

      I can’t stop reading your last line as you asking Finnick to be the president of Awesome 2012.

      Should Snow be the president of Doomed 2012?

      • HungryLikeLupin says:



        No, more that he should be president of awesome in 2012. Perhaps there should be a comma in between, but I was thinking in terms of bumper-sticker slogans, which rarely have correct grammar. -_-

  37. HanLin says:

    I can see the beginning of the next chapter now:
    Katniss begs Gale not to go, and Gale says that he will and if he dies in the attempt, then too bad. He says he might try to stay alive if Katniss proves that she wants him. She says okay, and then lets him kiss her and then she realizes she does love him. But she loves Peeta more. UGH! angst.angst.angst.

    Oh, wait. This isn't Twilight.

  38. My Breaking Point sort of snuck up on me, I guess.__At 16 I suffered an injury that left me with a damaged brain, epilepsy, and fibromyalgia. Teenagers are savage creatures, so you can imagine the emotional beating I took from my peers. I was accused of everything from faking for attention, being demon possessed (Oh hai there, Mr Supersitious "Christian", I didn't know you were from Medieval times!), doing hard drugs, being a waste of space and deserving to be euthanized (this particular douche bag claimed to be a social darwinist), and of course, deserving what I get because nothing bad happens to good people. People are great, aren't they? I don't blame anyone of any world view for the jerks that mistreated me, because shitty people belong to EVERY belief.

    • 3/4 of my friends abandoned me, one girl and my ex-boyfriend were gas-lighting me for the hell of it, and I had to drop out of high school because my tiny school couldn't provide the special classes I needed thanks to the brain damage THEIR teacher gave me.
      At times I felt utterly abandoned. The medications made me so sick that living was a nightmare. Family members thought I had an eating disorder because the meds killed my appetite. My old Church's "youth group" targeted me for being an easy laugh, what with being pasty, emaciated, and tired. I left that Church, needless to say, and in spite of them, turned to God on my own. I guess I got the "screw you and your ignorant bigotry" thanks to those experiences. I have good friends now, and run a blog on bad books and epilepsy as an outlet. Writing really helps.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Nice post. I didn't notice that you had a blog about books, either. WRITING AS AN OUTLET, YAY!

        How far did you get in that Eragon book?

        • Alas, I am still suffering through it. I'm going to do my review in the style that I usually do instead of chapter-by-chapter. Right now I'm a little over half-way through. I usually have to confine reading it to the evenings so I don't disturb my excellent parents with my loud, explosive raaaaaage against Gary Stus.

          • iolchos says:

            saw the Eragon movie with my sisters. We were the only ones in the theater. It made for an excellent time, as a result, because we could yell at the screen all we wanted.

      • iolchos says:

        that is awful. I'm so glad you made it through and found who your real friends were, and held onto your faith and talent, but gosh damn those people were jerks and I'm sorry you had to deal with that.

        • I find that I fight more with people within my "religion" (I really hate using that word, since I'm not religious) than I ever did outside of it. I want to treat people better as a result of my beliefs, not worse. I get pissed off when people think they're "better" than others because they belong to a particular belief system. Howabout we treat everyone with kindness and respect?

          Er, sorry, minirant. I still have a lot of anxiety and depression I need help for, but writing is one thing that can't be taken from me. It's why I love "Mark Reads", because we're all survivors here, and the attitude of kindness and respect is something I cherish. 🙂

    • Melissa says:

      Gosh, that sucks. I think I just lost some faith in my fellow human beings. I'm a teenager, and if someone I knew suffered an injury like that I would really try to be understanding and accomodating to them. I would never abandon a friend. I really just don't understand why people would be mean to somebody just because they have a disability. Heck, I don't understand why people are mean to each other period. You sound like you're a very strong person.
      Also, I want to say that I've really been looking forward to your Eragon review for a while now. I know it's going to be great!

  39. tethysdust says:

    There is one difference in the way Katniss is treated by the Capitol and District 13. When President Snow asked her to do something that she wasn't capable of, he tried to make her be magically capable by threatening to torture and kill everyone she loved. When District 13 asked her to do something and she wasn't able to do it, they brainstormed how to help her (and apparently decided drugging her against her will and rescuing Peeta was the way to go). So they're both manipulative, but I'd rather be in the 'carrot' society than the 'stick' one.

    Aside from the overly long cat metaphor, it surprised me to realize that Katniss had not yet understood Peeta's position. I mean, I thought it was obvious that he was a hostage against her. It was even explicitly stated (by Finnick). I guess Katniss has a lot on her mind lately, though, so she hasn't had time to really absorb everything that's been happening.

    • iolchos says:

      I think SEEING it, i.e. him being beaten before her eyes, is different. And it implies a lot more pain and violence. She might have imagined a hundred things that were happening to him, but kept them at bay because she didn't see it and because she could mitigate those things in her head. But having it presented on screen, in live action, as a direct response to him trying to talk to her through the camera, must be especially terrifying because it brings it down to a much more realistic level and forces her to focus on his pain.

  40. NopeJustMe says:

    I genuinely hate District 13, possibly equally to the Capitol. They're both trying to claim moral superiority while being complete dickheads. Ugh. SO MANY UNLIKEABLE CHARACTERS.

    Random expectations:
    – This would be a good place for Gale or Peeta to die. Then Katniss can get together with the survivor.
    – Also, I WANT THEM TO RANDOMLY SAVE CINNA. Come on! He's probably there too!

  41. kaybee42 says:

    WHAT. I AM FURIOUS. Rescue Mission: hells yes! I have wanted that FOREVER! And they DIDN'T MENTION JOHANNA! (Or did they? I read it rather quickly with all the excitement… any confirmation either way? I'm not with my book right now.)
    Are they getting Johanna dammit?!?!?

  42. Treasure Cat says:

    I dont think Ive ever truly reached breaking point. Ive been close though, even though I didnt realise it at the time. I was bullied at school, became depressed and took it out on myself through self harm, first by cutting and then later it escalated into bulimia as well. I didnt realise how bad I really felt until I left that school, got to university and made real friends. Looking back on it, it scares me what I might have done if I continued going to school there.

    I think the Crazy Cat paragraph sounds weird because Collins is again leaning on the fourth wall. She does it a couple of times in the books, its like she momentarily forgets Katniss is narrating a story, not talking to your face.

  43. BradSmith5 says:

    Pf, it isn't just that 'Crazy Cat' part that's bizarre; most of this chapter was a bland explanation on how villainy works. Hostages can be used to hurt the protagonist? Wow, Collins! Thanks! I didn't know that! Please, use MORE condescending parentheses to spoon-feed me plot info!

    I can't get mad at District 13 for drugging Katniss either; it's the author that keeps resorting to that. Every book. Every time some character loses their composure. Collins, let your characters freak out a little! Why won't you let them show some raw, unhinged emotion!? Does everything need to take place in neat, internal monologues!? RRRGH, I can't do this any––!

    Ouch! Help! There is a needle in my arm! Egads, I must have slipped into hysteria again. The world, it is a blur.


    • kohlrabi says:

      Oh I know they drive me nuts! I imagine Collins is writing and thinks to herself, hmm I don't know how to write the segue in between X and X, I know, Katniss gets drugged!

      This is the primary reason I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as the first two. Actually write all the scenes Collins!!

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Yeah, just imagine if Rowling had done that in "Order of the Phoenix." That book would be so boring without all of his screaming rampages. And the scene at the end:

        "Ah-ah, Harry! I can't let you talk to your headmaster like that! I must now deprive the world of my sweet line about breaking possessions, and use the knocking-out spell that Brad forgot the name of!" ZAP.

        • tethysdust says:

          That was one of the most emotionally effective parts of the series to me. But then, I am judging Harry Potter by adult standards of literature. I am judging Hunger Games by "Gee, I sure like this blog" standards of literature.

    • Saber says:

      They did let her go total-freak out when she found out about the Quell

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Oh, right, thanks for reminding me. I liked being able to see the entire process of despair, and the way that it lead to her acceptance of the news. I was just, uh, too busy complaining about the plot being recycled to say anything then, ha,ha,ha. 😉

    • monkeybutter says:

      Excuse you, the tedium of this chapter is meant to mirror the immutable boredom of living in the bunker. The roses and subsequent freak out are Collins' way of distracting us from the drudgery (teasing us with a flashlight, if you will), while the drugging allows us to return to normalcy (i.e., turning off the flashlight) and move on to a plan to rescue Peeta (poop in Gale's bed).

      Glad to see you commenting! 😀

      • BradSmith5 says:

        I even caught up on Mark's reviews so that I could get your joke about poop! Two days after you typed it!

        I was like, "Man, I know I was skimming the chapter a little––but when did Collins sneak that in there!?"

  44. David says:

    Maybe Gale and Katniss just need an I-You moment?

  45. Alexis says:

    I've had a few break down/near break downs. I grew up in a really chaotic household, so stability was never something I really learned. Then, my junior year my parents divorced(in a really unhealthy manner, my family was supposed to move out to Pennsylvania but my dad moved my little sister and mom out there, came back to Colorado and told her he was leaving her via phone). This divorce was really painful, but I also fell in love, got my heart broken, came out of the closet, had one of my oldest friends tell me that he no longer wanted to know me because I was gay, and tried to balance working and school. Needless to say, I shattered and spent the next year to year and a half of my life completely broken. I began drinking a lot, doing cocaine, and doing 'ice and salt burns' to hurt myself.
    It took a long time to put myself back together but now, I'm stronger than I was before and much more empathic to the world around me

  46. bendemolena says:

    I think they should just sent Buttercup on the rescue mission. He'd get shit done, in a very, 'NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!' kind of way. And then later demand a comfy chair for his efforts.

  47. Chica says:

    I’ve broken a few times, and the overwhelming urge to curl up in a corner and scream until you can’t hear anything but your own voice just to block out the rest of the world is nearly impossible to overcome. I also agree that running is sometimes the answer. Also it’s possible to love someone and recognize that they are toxic to your existence. I love my parents. Would gladly hand over a kidney if they needed one. But we just don’t really mesh well. Yes, there are a lot of elephants in the room that we ignore the two or three times we get together a year (and I live 40 mins away) but I’ve just learned to edit my conversations and after a few years of doing that I don’t nearly fall into a panic attack each time I talk with them.

    As for the rescue mission (caution unpopular opinion ahead) I can understand the rebels hesitancy of blowing covers and possibly getting people killed to rescue Peeta and the others. We care about Peeta because we’ve gotten to know him (hell I don’t even like the guy, yet I want him out of the Capital’s hands) but the higher ups have to determine if rescuing him (who they are reasonably sure the Capital is keeping alive) is worth the very possible death of others.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  48. Liz says:

    I am so glad you mentioned the Crazy Cat metaphor segment. When I read this the first time, I was like "WHAT?" I'm a writer, and the biggest lesson we learn in workshop is SHOW, DO NOT TELL. Collins is telling, telling, telling. She is literally spoon-feeding us the metaphor. It's like she doesn't trust us to understand the idea ourselves so she has to spell it out for us. I do not like. There are a lot of things about Collins' writing that I enjoy, but this segment made me very mad. I AM NOT AN IDIOT SUZANNE.

  49. ldwy says:

    GREAT. So let me guess: Katniss is going to beg him not to go, he’ll refuse, and then she’ll tell Coin she should come along with the mission. RIGHT? RIGHT?
    UM YES. (Wait wait no freaking out I am reading with Mark I cannot literally answer this) I JUST AGREE WITH MARK'S TREWLAWNEY PREDICTING POWERS.
    I was reading Katniss' breakdown and totally understanding and sniffling and having my heart broken. And I was glad too that Haymitch was able to help her.
    And when he explained the rescue mission I was like FINALLY THIRTEEN PEETA MUST BE RESCUED AND YAY ANNIE TOO!
    I liked the Crazy Cat game, my cat does that, when she's not being lazy, and it was telling and realistic that despite it being something so simple and dumb, the trapped people needed something, anything to take their minds off of what was going on around them. But spelling it out as a metaphor for what Katniss was going through took me out of the story. And it wasn't even a good metaphor. I think it was rather a stretch. If you've got a good enough metaphor, Collins, we will be able to notice it ourselves. Kind of like the Hanging Tree song. That worked, this not so much.

  50. sparkerworks says:

    Grad school broke me, coupled with the deaths of several relatives (and the suicide of a friend) spaced out nicely over the last few years. It has taken until now to be able to both hold down a job and finish my thesis, two years after I was 'supposed' to graduate. It has been even harder to take the abuse and disappointed expectations from my family (and some friends) over not finishing on time, but mostly it has been hardest to forgive myself for being human.

    Also: have you ever had a cat? As a complete Cat Person that metaphor paragraph, though awkward, made complete sense to me. I figure you'd start to think a bit crazy and over-explain things even in your own head after being trapped in a bunker for four days, an unknown amount of future time spread out ahead of you.

  51. bell_erin_a says:

    God, cancer is so awful. We're dealing with a bad situation with my father's parents where his mother has cancer (slow-growing, though. It'll be the pain meds that kill her eventually), and we're pretty sure his father is past the early stages of Alzheimer's. My siblings and I have been getting a number of talks lately about the importance of not letting little things come between us so we can come together and deal with situations like this when the time comes, plus the importance of figuring out what we/our parents want when they're old so we don't have to get into arguments about what's best for them. Absolutely tl;dr, and sorry about that, but I'm going to also add in: old age sucks.

    DOESN'T IT? I have trouble sometimes figuring out if some backstory or fact from the HP world was actually in the series or if it's from things Rowling has said. I feel like I'm going to have a similar issue sorting out HG canon from the backstories I've imagined for everyone/the crazy conspiracies I've been posting for the last few days (spectralbovine, I blame you!). :p

    • theanagrace says:

      Old age does suck, my grandma's Alzheimer's has progressed very quickly in the last year and its really hard on my mom especially. She's the one responsible for my grandma's care because her brother (my uncle) is an ass and can't be trusted to keep my grandma's best interests in mind. Also, a year and a half ago, my nana (dad's mom) was declining rapidly. On the one hand, I learned to put some hard things behind me and saw her before she died, but on the other hand, it really emphasised the problems between our family and my aunt's family. They live in the same city and we're like total strangers.

      Don't let the little stuff come between you and your family, in the end, they're more important than that.

  52. Not_Prepared says:

    "Maybe it’s because the part about Peeta dying doesn’t even make sense. If she cares about Peeta so much, why would she just 'move onto other things?"
    ^^The way I see it, Katniss would rather have Peeta dead than alive and being tortured. And GEE, THANKS FOR EXPLAINING THE METAPHOR, COLLINS. I GUESS I'M TOO DUMB TO UNDERSTAND IT MYSELF. I'm crying on the inside.

    And isn't it pretty tight with all 6 Hawthornes in that widdle teeny square? Oh lawddd.

    Finnick, I love you. The end.

  53. Shanella says:

    no, I don't think the Cat game analogy is awkward … it makes sense to me.

  54. t09yavorski says:

    I didnt really mind the metaphor because that is how i think. I am a "life is like a box of chocolates" girl and I understand things better when they are explained to me in relation to something else. I suppose that paragraph was rather clunky but it also made a pretty interesting parallel between Katniss and Buttercup. Both are tough as nails, love Prim dearly and survived what the Capitol decided to throw at them.

    I think about my personal breaking point a lot. I was bullied which led me to become very self-contained in middle school. I remember sometimes wishing for a breakdown just so that I could get away from it all. eventually I decided I couldnt live like that so I changed for high school, taking with me only a mild case of agoraphobia/enochlophobia.

    In college I think I came very close but I've learned many ways to keep myself mellow which has helped. (hiding/hanging out in bathrooms/closets/small dark rooms is one, Watching kids movies is another. (Or Jurassic Park, life never seems as bad when watching people be eaten by dinosaurs)) Knowing myself I dont think a breakdown would end very well for the people around me and I wouldnt be able to recover from that.

  55. thecheapshot says:

    I have been broken. And I ran away to get fixed. I haven't seen my parents in over 6 years and, right now, I don't plan to. Twenty years of domestic violence, bullying and misery, self harm, terror, suicide attempts and sheer fucking stupidity eventually reached a point where I stood on a bridge, took a deep breath and decided to get on with my life without them. I passed my degree, moved to London, found myself some fabulous, healthy relationships and right now, things couldn't be better.

    A lot of people who haven't experienced the same sort of childhood find it hard to understand how running can be a good idea. There is often a sense that everyone should confront their problems, especially when it comes to family. I chose not to bang my head against those walls anymore and I think they and I are much happier for it. Running away can be brave – it's self-preservation – and if you've had a lifetime of being made to feel worthless, the decision to give yourself worth by leaving it all behind can be the most difficult thing you will ever do. Well done Mark Coco, four for you, Mark Coco 😀

  56. Lady X says:



  57. jennywildcat says:

    I'm a YA librarian and I really, really, REALLY hate it when YA books treat teenagers like they're idiots and can't comprehend a semi-complex metaphor. Personally, I smell editorial meddling with the excessive Crazy Cat-metaphor explanation. Collins usually doesn't indulge in "Readers Are Morons" shenanigans, which makes me wonder if someone on the editorial board made that decision.

    Breaking points – I've definitely had my share. I just mentally check out and go on autopilot. I wouldn't go so far to say that I pull a complete Bella Swan in "New Moon" – I'm still aware of what things need to be done and I do them, but I just stop caring about everything.

  58. Baz says:

    I started reading these books when Mark was already starting Mockingjay, which basically means I had a lot of catching up to do…I inhaled these books and accidentally abandoned my plan of keeping up with Mark, and there's one thing that I barely registered while reading, but can not stop thinking about reading these blogs and comments.

    I never thought about Katniss/Peeta/Gale and their tangled romance. I think it's largely because Katniss doesn't really spend a lot of time dwelling on her emotions because there is so much more going on (hi, brutal games, starving families, more brutal games, a fucking war!!). Looking back, though, it's kind of hit me how fucked up it is that nobody has ever really asked or seemed concerned with Katniss's feelings towards these boys.

    Take Gale: in THG, Kat admits that he's attractive, but also makes it pretty obvious that she just thinks of him as a hunting partner, best friend, and maybe brother. Before the reaping, he doesn't say anything to her about his feelings either, so it's not like she would even know. Fast forward to after the Games, with Katniss back in 12, and Gale is ignoring her. Why? Because Peeta professed his love for her? Because she kissed Peeta? I get that Gale likes her and doesn't want to see her kissing other guys, but it's not like they were together or had even talked about that aspect of their relationship. In my opinion, Gale was really insensitive after Katpee got back from the games. I'm sure it must have been hard for him, providing for his family AND Kat's family all while watching his ~super speshul crush~ snog some other dude, but…..she was kind of trying not to get killed, which is a really big deal. And now, in 13, he's being just as insensitive. All of the previous victors are really fucked up in their own ways, and I don't think Gale is giving Katniss the support she needs. She's obviously falling apart, and doesn't need her BFF giving her weird looks for talking to Finnick or for flipping out about Peeta or whatever.

    Now, Peeta. I think it's really awesome that Peeta decided to profess his forever-crush on Kat before the first Games. It's a totally brave move that I don't think I would have done. It's a little fucked up and awkward to put Kat in that position, especially since they're both thinking that one or both of them is about to get killed, but I still give him kudos for owning up to it. But then, all that star-crossed lovers bullshit that the Capitol started spitting out was just….where did that even come from? Peeta admits he's in love with Katniss, but did anybody ask her what she thinks about it? It's obvious that she cares about him because he saved her life, but that doesn't necessarily equate to love. Of course, then she acted like she liked Peeta during the games because she realized it was her best method of survival. Not the kindest idea, because Peeta will obviously read it differently, but her survival instincts are so high that I'm not really surprised that not dying trumped being honest about her feelings. I thought it was a really big moment in CF when Peeta apologized for being so harsh after the Games and offered up his friendship. I think that's when I decided to like him (weird timing that I started warming up to him around the same time that Gale started to piss me off).

    It's just weird to me that nobody really cared about her actual feelings towards either of these guys. Until now, I guess, sort of. I think that's why I really enjoyed Fennick in this chapter. He gets it. He's got this reputation of being an easy lover, but he's also so in love with Annie that it's making him fall apart out of worry. He gets that people can put on a show and still have real emotions underneath. It also just hit me that Fennick is only 24 and has been dealing with this bullshit for 10 years. I think I'd be in a much worse state if it were me (although, I don't think I'd have survived the games at all).

    But anyway. RESCUE MISSION!!!!!!!!! I think it's about time that 13 did something other than Propos!!!

  59. Pk9 says:

    See any similarities between the following lines?
    I get a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. “Who else, Haymitch?” I insist.
    “You know who else, Katniss. You know who stepped up first.”
    Of course I do.

    “Edward,” I said, my voice nearly inaudible. “Edward, someone got hurt.”

    “Yes,” he whispered.
    “Who?” I asked, though, of course, I already knew the answer.
    Of course I did. Of course.

    “Jacob,” he said.
    I was able to nod once.
    “Of course,” I whispered.

    I don’t get the mechanics of the bombings. It seems like only the civilians were in the bunkers, so what was the Capitol hitting? Why not take out the hovercraft bays? If the soldiers from D13 were able to use hovercraft, why not shoot down the missiles?

    • Pk9 says:

      PS When Katniss said "I am Buttercup." I was totally waiting for you say "NO YOU'RE NOT. SHUT UP."

    • tethysdust says:

      Well, one difference is that I have some form of sympathy for Katniss, and even Gale. Bella is a pathetic excuse for a human being. It physically sickens me to think that people might actually exist who are like her.

      As for the bombings, I think they were going for killing people. They didn't expect for their attack to be anticipated and, given D13 had like 10 minutes warning, I doubt they had much time to adjust for it. I think missile defense is a bit more complicated than having hovercraft, and D13 spent most of their time making sure the civilians were safe.

  60. HungryLikeLupin says:

    English major powers, ACTIVATE! I knew that degree had to be good for something. ^_~

  61. Phoebe says:

    i agree about the awkward metaphor. the peeta dying part is weird, and i dont like the use of parenthesis, but thats just me probably…

  62. BradSmith5 says:

    Poly gone!? PFfffff, ha,ha,ha,ha-ha.

    I am so glad to see you Nanodragon; I have missed your quiet, reflective sentences. 😀

  63. Phoebe says:

    "Other shapes are so underused for relationships."

    Im pretty sure this is one of my favorite sentences in these reviews…

  64. celinagabrielle says:

    I loved this chapter because of the range of emotion Katniss showed in it. And I did enjoy the Finnick interaction.

    As for a breaking point? I've been through many. Many, many, many. But the most recent was just a few months ago.

    I've fought for my dad's affection and approval my entire life. He got my mother pregnant and then decided he wasn't 'emotionally or mentally ready' to have a child so he left. My mother made him promise he would never turn me away, and that he would pay child support. He paid child support, but he made little to no effort to be in my life. I had to beg him over email to show up to my seventh grade graduation (he never came), my first lead role in a musical (he came for one but left right after it was done) and I had to guilt-trip him into coming to my high school graduation and the dinner afterward.

    My entire life I made excuses for him. My mother bitched about how horrible he was all the time and I would yell at her and tell her that she was wrong and that he was just in a difficult position.

    He has three young daughters, and none of them know I exist. His entire family chooses to ignore my existence. As far as they're concerned, I am nothing but a mistake. I never thought my father believed that.

    I sat down for coffee with him a while ago (with my sister) and I asked him frank, honest questions. "Were you ever planning on telling your children about me?" "Why don't you feel as if I deserve to have even a fraction of my university tuition paid?"

    I asked him if it would make things better if I just disappeared out of his life and he said "Yes."

    He told me he never wanted me, it was my mother's decision and that he wanted me put up for adoption.

    I have never in my life believed a person could be so callous and unfeeling. I couldn't imagine the thought process that went into looking your firstborn daughter in the eye and telling her she was a mistake. And that you truly believed that. My sister told me it took every fibre of her being not to punch him in the face at that moment.

    I have since then stopped caring about whether or not my father loves me. I told him he has a month to tell my half-sisters I exist or I will. My mother is taking him to court.

    He just told me has another kid that he is paying child support to. So, in short, I have a sixteen-year-old half-brother I was never aware of.

    I don't ever want to look my father in the face ever again. And it's freeing. It truly is. I feel like I'm living proof that you can survive a broken childhood. And that you don't need both parents in your life if one of them loves you more than anything.

    Sorry for the tl;dr but it just happened to me a little while ago and I just… I want everyone to know that only you can choose how much of an effect a person has on you.

    • notemily says:

      Damn, that's harsh. I'm glad you finally stood up to him. Because this is all about him and his inability to step up and be a father, it's not about you at all. But when you're a kid it feels like it's YOUR fault if your parents treat you like shit.


    • I can't even imagine. I'm sorry for your pain, and really admire your strength. I had a friend with a father like yours. I hope things continue to get better for you.

  65. stephanie says:

    If she cares about Peeta so much, why would she just “move on to other things”?

    I don’t know, am I alone in this?
    no mark your not alone. The first time I read the book (series) and i saw that i didnt really pay much attention to it but come to think of it yea it is really kind of weird =/

  66. Kripa says:

    You know Finnick's 24, right? Katniss is 17 right now. Finniss is very much DNW. Bad bad bad. Which makes it all the stupider for Gale to get jealous of Finnick. WTF Gale, Finnick's a grownass man and Katniss is still a girl. Finnick would be committing fucking statutory rape if he got with Katniss. So no, no shippiness between Katniss and Finnick.

    • Clare says:

      Yeah Gale is stupid for being jealous of a relationship between Katniss and Finnick.

      But Hello! Not every relationship is all romance "chocolate and Roses"!

      I can ship Katniss and Finnik as BFFs til the end of time 🙂

    • Fuchsia says:

      Well, not to justify it or anything, but a lot of injustices in Panem go unnoticed so I don't think statutory rape is a concern in that society. Protecting children isn't a huge thing for the law enforcers (between the Hunger Games themselves, the fact that Peeta and Katniss were able to buy alcohol for Haymitch, and Finnick became a "sex symbol" when he was only 14).

  67. Saber says:

    Yah, I had a breaking point. But mine was a little more pathetic.

    I made a friend the center of my life. She just got it and understood me like no one else has ever been able to do. She gave up a lot for me. But she was difficult to deal with. I didn't care, I loved her like a sister. More. So I changed myself to be someone better suited to fit her needs.

    Well, she was always fickle, and one day she turned it against me. She told me she never wanted to see me again. It was like my whole world imploded. I called my dad to come and pick meup because I couldn't stop crying. It was just awful. I cried for hours, making these awful noises you wouldn't believe. I finally passed out on the bathroom floor, lights turned off.

    It makes me sick to see how helpless I was. If I could have stopped crying long enough to kill myself…. I might have. And I still hurt over her. But I'm better then I was, and I'm still getting better.

    Actual commentary on the chapter coming later.

    • notemily says:

      That's not pathetic. Losing someone you care about like that sucks. *hugs*

    • That happened to me with a similar friend, except that one day I found out that she was gas-lighting me, had set up my ex-boyfriend with her other friend, and that she hated my guts. Apparently all in a bid to keep this guy's affections..

    • Saber says:

      I know she wasn't trying to hurt me. And I'm glad she moved on, because I don't want her to hurt or feel trapped if I'm not what she needs.
      But it still hurts. I miss her so much.

  68. Silverilly says:

    I think I would have enjoyed the Crazy Cat metaphor had Collins not EXPLAINED EVERY SINGLE PART OF THE METAPHOR. Even "I feel like Buttercup" would have been a bit of a stretch. BLARGH.

    But I do agree with you on the overall feel of Mockingjay; it's so morbidly depressing, you just have to love it. I had heard that Mockingjay was the weakest of the three books, but I kind of wonder if it's not just like the situation with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, where people just dislike it because it's so difficult (emotionally) to read.

  69. Pelleloguin says:

    I was bullied without mercy during elementary school. You read that right, elementary school. Kindergarten was fine, but first through fifth grades I was in class with Carol. I don't know why she hated me, but she was the favorite of the teachers and she knew it. I was accused of the most bizarre things, like cheating on a reading assignment where I needed to provide page numbers and quotes. Or using an eraser that I played with during tests to calm myself down as a way to make her fail….When she sat across the room from me. (Tests used to stress me out to the point whee I would fail them unless I had something do distract me)
    It got so bad that in fifth grade, when my grandfather died I want to North Dakota or the funeral, I got yelled at by the teacher for not calling in for two days and she failed me on a test I missed. Carol's grandfather died a few months later and the teacher told us that she was going through a hard time in her life and we needed to make her cards. I told her no, she threatened to fail me, and forced me to write her a letter of apology for 'yelling' at her and I had to make Carol a card. My mother yelled at me later that day, because she needed to sign the card, and I never told her why I 'yelled' at the teacher.I didn't think she would beleive me. A week later I was watching A Goofy Movie with my father, and he told me "You know, I dont want you to be like Max and think I dont care about you. You can tell me anything." So I did. I found out years later that he told my mother. Who actually called and cussed out my teacher. My mom does not swear, and apparently she threatened to sue.
    Afterward, the teacher stopped listening to Carol when she tried to say I did something wrong, but never stopped Carol form picking on me herself. I dont know how much a six year old can break, but to this day I have a fear of close relationships and worry about weather or not people I know like me. I am aware that these fears are unfounded and have been working on overcoming them.
    Mark, I am so sorry that there were times in your life you tried to end your life. I have friends who have done the same thing. Like many others have said, I wish I could send you a hug through the internet. Instead I ill just say that I am very, very happy that you have overcome those challenges in your life.

  70. peacockdawson says:

    He still has some apologizing to do, but I’m glad that he reached out to Katniss and helped her.

    Okay, so I meant to say this when it happened, but last time Katniss woke up with Haymitch right there? And he threatened her with the ear-piece? And you thought that that was crazy ridiculous? Well, him threatening her that way didn't bother me too much, it was just his way of sort of telling her off. You know, just sort of disciplining her sort of thing, for something he can't let her do. What I really found highly disturbing (and I don't get disturbed at just any old thing) was that he ate her food. Like, she's recovering from surgery, and they specifically calculated that amount of food for her to get to the next meal in tact, and you ate her food? That strikes me as incredibly messed up, if you take in the whole situation with D13 and how she's in the hospital. :/

    • theupsides says:

      This is what bothered me most, too. Because I view Haymitch as a father-figure type thing for Katniss, so I understand why he would freak out at her putting herself at risk. But, um, my parents would never eat my food in this situation. Where it was strictly being monitored and I couldn't get more.

    • iolchos says:

      in a weird way, I see him eating her food as payback for the callousness towards his cold turkey and a reminder that he's still suffering too (in a weird and albeit cruel, puerile way)

      • peacockdawson says:

        I see what you're saying, but I don't agree. I don't think Haymitch wants payback for how Katniss has been treating him. They really have a sort of intuitive relationship and are most always on the same page. He knows why Katniss treated him like she did and he understands it, and they are both moving on, and forward.

  71. Coni says:

    I don't have much to say about the chapter because my mind is brimming with spoilers, but I will agree with you that sometimes running away from problems works. Stuff in my hometown in Missouri was crappy for me and I, also, had reached a sort of breaking point, so I moved to San Diego. NOW I AM HAPPY AGAIN! And you may have assured me that I am not a wimp for doing this.

  72. fizzybomb says:

    The Crazy Cat metaphor did seem kind of strange; on the other hand, Katniss didn't have much to do, so I think it makes sense in that context. She needs some way to pass the time. Overthinking things and coming up with metaphors is as valid a way as any.

  73. EldaTaluta says:

    To answer you question Mark. Yes, every day.

    I assumed Katniss would be on the list of people going to the Capitol, because she's the main character and all. But, I guess in the story that wouldn't make much sense. :/

  74. Kelly L. says:

    Every time Katniss wakes up in a hospital bed, DRINK!

  75. Fuchsia says:




  76. Curiosity Shoppe says:

    As awkward as the Crazy Cat metaphor is, I love that Katniss plays the game primarily because she thinks it makes Buttercup look stupid. Heh.

    /not a cat person

  77. TreesaX says:

    I just realized that we'll have to wait until Monday for you to read the next chapter.

    <img src=""&gt;

  78. Fuchsia says:

    So I finally got home from work and read through all the comments and just want to say, to everyone who shared their stories of breakdowns and emotional hardships, I want to give every single one of you a hug. There's something about Mark's blog that lets us open up, I don't know why, maybe it's because he's opened up to us so much about his own personal life, but I normally wouldn't tell people what I wrote down this morning (hell… even most of my close friends don't know as much as I wrote in that comment) and I bet a lot of you wouldn't either. But thank you for sharing, because I at least feel a bit stronger after reading everyone else's stories.

  79. Susan W. says:

    Yay! This is the first time I've had my computer since December 1st. It's been in the shop all this time and while it's mostly fixed the sound is still messed up.
    I've felt broken three times. I think I've mentioned all 3 to you before. The first was in high school when I started hating myself for all of my confusing feelings and I attempted to slit my wrists in the girl's bathroom with what turned out to be, thankfully, a dull knife I had brought for that purpose. I think at the time the thought that if I'd succeeded it would have been permanent scared me enough to ensure I didn't try it again. The second time was when my gf broke up with me via text at what turned out to be her new gf's house and I thought my world was surely over and no one else could possibly ever love someone like me. The last time was about 6 months later when I was still struggling to recover and I found out that my suspicions were true and she had been cheating and lying to me for months before we broke up. I fell apart and literally obsessed over trying to figure out the exact moment she had quit loving me, what I had done wrong, and determine each and every lie she had ever told me. Anyway, I've been reading along with you and I've gotten terrified of thinking about anyone in the long term. I know anybody could die. Last chapter I remember when Katniss was talking about Prim studying to become a doctor and how that wasn't even a possibility before, I couldn't help but think it's only great if she lives through this. I'm just a bit leery of anything positive at this point. Of course, I'm glad that they're going to try to save Peeta and Annie, but like Katniss, I can't help but think about how they could both die in the attempt. It's still definitely worth the risk.

  80. --- says:

    I'm just gonna have to say that I really love Gale as a character.
    It's probably because I feel like I identify with him a lot and sorta get his thought process.

    I don't think people/Katniss realize how he's losing his best friend that he's known his whole life to Peeta, who I'm going to assume people generally like more. And considering I'm going through the same thing right now, I get how much it sucks and how it just makes you seem hateful and heartless to other people.

    I feel like he's trying to do what's best for the people he loves and cares about, but he just doesn't realize how to go about it. And that he's trying to get back what he had with Katniss before, but knows he'll never have that back and I think that it's tearing him up.

    I don't know if any of that makes sense, but I just feel bad for the guy and I really see so much of myself in him.

    I'm just going to guess it's an unpopular opinion, ha

  81. MowerOfLorn says:

    WILL THIS TURN INTO A LOVE SQUARE. Other shapes are so underused for relationships. WHERE’S THE POLY LOVE?

    I KNOW! Why don't other shapes get love. (Although, you should see the romantic relationship map I for Torchwood and Doctor Who- actually, no you shouldn't 'cause its SPOILERY! But it was pretty darn convoluted, let me tell you.)

    Anyway, shit is going to get so real its going to explode from the pages!

  82. Revolution64 says:

    Remember how excited you were for District 13? Oh, how delightfully naive you were, Mark.

  83. theresa1128429 says:

    I hate Fridays. It's the only day I can't read the review and follow the comments all through the day! So, a summary:
    Crazy cat paragraph sucked, the metaphor alone would have been ok.
    Finnick is a great friend. Makes me love him even more.
    "Love square" and "poly love" made me LOL
    Haymitch is cool again.
    Rescue mission? Fuck yeah. Bring wifey home while you're at it

    • I'm trying to imagine you shaking Gale by the shirt screaming, "Bring my woman HOME, do you hear me?!"

      And yes, Haymitch is very cool again. Unlike Katniss, though, I'd probably stab the fool who tried to steal my snackies. Oh, Finnick, you are so loveable.

      • theresa1128429 says:

        Haha yes. I need to get prettied up before she comes home. Because I KNOW that Collins better not fuck with my woman…

  84. inzhuna says:

    Crazy cat was totally awkward. It almost felt like Collins was breaking the 4th wall. Really bad writing, if you ask me. Collins is weird, sometimes she writes absolutely brilliantly and sometimes there are these immensely awkward paragraphs.

    "The fact is that both sides in this battle are using her, unaware and uncaring of her mental state or her emotional well-being…..I feel so awful for Katniss, I really do. She has been so utterly selfless for so long and she really needs a chance to be selfish and take care of what’s going on with her life, but the people surrounding her won’t let her."

    This reminded me of this TvTropes quote on the Hunger games character page that totally blew my mind (it's not spoilery). In the entry for Katniss:

    Unwitting Pawn: Present, lampshaded, and part of the symbolism. A mockingjay is a powerful symbol to the rebels, but it's also a bird that can't sing its own songs, relying on what others sing to it.


    • thecivilunrest6 says:

      Katniss really is a pawn. If you think about, ever since Catching Fire she's pretty much been a pawn. I mean in CF she didn't know she was a pawn and in Mockingjay I don't think that she recognizes that she's a pawn just yet but that's a very true quote.

    • iolchos says:

      omg the bit about a mockingjay not being able to sing it's own songs blew my fragile mind

    • Pk9 says:

      Eh, and now I'm reminded of the red pawn/white queen cover of Breaking Dawn…

  85. thecivilunrest6 says:

    This is amazing. Seriously, you've got so much insight Mark!

  86. 4and6forever says:

    “I am Buttercup.”

    We can only dream, Katniss. Buttercup POV reviews every single day!

  87. iolchos says:

    Katniss as a cat:
    <img src="; border="0" />

  88. shortstack930 says:

    I like that Katniss saw Gale eyeing her and Finnick and her reaction was just like WHO CARES. She has so much stuff to deal with what with District 13 being BOMBED she really doesn't have time to care about this love triangle/polygon/parallelogram business.

    And the whole drugging her thing bothers me also. I mean gee, maybe the girl just needs a good cry and some time to deal with her emotions, not a freaking needle in the arm every time she feels the need to shed a tear! It's amazing that she hasn't burst into tears more often considering all of the pressure she's under but the poor girl isn't a machine and these people are just drugging her with sedatives when she even gets slightly emotional. Messed up.

    • Gabbie says:

      It just seems like everyone uses the black out/drugged with tranquilizer so they can have their character conveniently wake up during an important scene.

  89. Saber says:

    But a funny one, I already did the depressing one.

    I got Mockingjay the day it came out, at midnight. I read for three hours, then got up at seven for The Lion King rehersals. (They prettymuch left me alone that day, I had my nose in the book every second I wasn't on stage, and was prone to snapping at people)

    Three days later we preform, and what do I get? Three perfect white roses. I might have, erm, dropped them. Roses creep me out a little now. I still having them atucally, dried and hanging in my closet so they can't do anything creepy. (Paranoid? Hell yah)

    I don't know why I shared that. I guess because I find it ironic.

  90. notemily says:

    Long comment is going to be long.

    I've had several more minor breakdowns, but what I think of as My Mental And Physical Breakdown is probably the defining event in my post-college life. I graduated in 2003. I LOVED my college, so graduating and going back to boring old Wisconsin was pretty difficult. It sent me into a mild depression that lasted three years. I didn't realize it was depression at the time–it's only looking back now that I can see the signs. I was just unmotivated, I didn't enjoy things I used to enjoy, I made horrible relationship decisions because I cared more about being loved than about being myself. I just kind of stumbled through my days on autopilot waiting for things to get better. But they didn't.

    In the late summer of 2006, it all came to a head. My old flame from college came to visit me and reawakened all the feelings I had had for him, so when he left, I was devastated all over again. I tried to date a guy someone had fixed me up with, but I wasn't having any fun with him and when we hung out one night, I had a panic attack because I wanted to be ANYWHERE but there. (Don't get me wrong–he wasn't a bad guy, but he wasn't for me. But I was forcing myself to date him anyway because I felt obligated to.) I felt like I was going to throw up, which for me is pretty much the worst thing imaginable, so I drove home and made some peppermint tea and lay on the bathroom floor for a few hours trying to calm down.

    That kind of panic attack has happened to me before, but usually the nausea goes away and I calm down and the next day I'm fine. This time, I never recovered. Everything I ate started to make me feel sick, and although I never threw up, I lived in a constant state of extreme anxiety. Even my favorite foods made my stomach hurt. Imagine EVERYTHING you eat making you feel sick, but you never stop being hungry. That's the state I was in constantly. I would eat something and feel sick, but feel hungry again a few minutes later, and I would yell at my stomach WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, YOU SAY YOU WANT FOOD BUT THEN YOU DON'T LIKE IT.

    Being anxious all the time very quickly sent me into a severe depressive cycle. I was CONSTANTLY anxious, and I felt like I couldn't enjoy ANYTHING anymore. My life felt like one big panic attack. I even moved back in with my parents for a while (although I kept my old apartment), because I just needed somewhere that I felt safe. I wanted my mommy to take care of me like she did when I was sick as a little girl.

    I had every test in the book to figure out what was wrong with me. For someone already super-anxious, going through a bunch of invasive tests was pretty awful. (Colonoscopy? NEVER AGAIN. I shudder every time I look at a bottle of Gatorade.) I remember during my endoscopy I came out of sedation long enough to realize there was something in my throat that I couldn't get out, and I started crying uncontrollably. Then they knocked me out again. (OMG I WAS TOTALLY KATNISS)

    • notemily says:

      Part 2:

      But NONE of the tests showed anything wrong, and to make matters worse I could only see the GI specialist every few months because she was so busy. I was like DON'T YOU GUYS SEE I AM NOT FUNCTIONING HERE. I felt kind of like an asshole, because there were people who had colon cancer and Crohn's disease and stuff that actually can kill you, while from the doctor's perspective, I was just whining about my stomachache. But, you know, IT SUCKED.

      During this time I went on Lexapro (good idea) and Xanax (BAD IDEA). The drugs helped take the edge off my anxiety, but I still couldn't eat much. Again, being constantly anxious and worried about nausea while having to adjust to new meds is not fun. I'm an old pro at adjusting to meds now, but back then it was the Great Unknown and I spent every moment in terror of the Side Effects. (I love how anti-depressants take weeks to kick in, and meanwhile not only are you depressed, you also have to deal with feeling like crap.)

      But the real breakthrough didn't come until the following spring when I was finally given a diagnosis: IBS. After that I Googled everything I could and bought books about what to eat if you have IBS. And after a few tries, my doctor found a medication that slowed my digestive system down enough that it was no longer going AGH PAIN every time I ate. So I began eating again, and put on the weight I had lost, and slowly (SLOWLY) weaned myself off the Xanax, and moved to a new apartment, etc.

      But it's not like I magically Got Better. It was just that my Breakdown was the wake-up call I needed, I suppose, to start taking better care of myself. Now, I still have problems with depression and anxiety, but I have what I think of as my "toolbox" for dealing with them. Everything from peppermint tea, to my cocktail of meds, to talk therapy, to my sun-imitating lamp, to mindfulness/meditation practice. It's hard and it sucks a lot of the time, but I haven't reached that point again where I can't function.

      The hardest part these days isn't living with all those things, it's convincing other people (and sometimes myself) that I'm not just lazy, selfish, and/or making shit up. My parents took care of me when I first got sick, but they seem to expect me to be "over it" now, despite the fact that my mother has a chronic illness herself. And there's not really a place in American society right now for people who get tired easily and therefore would rather not work full-time, but who still need health insurance.

      Also, I really miss ice cream.

      • Melissa says:

        I can sympathize with the stomach issues a lot. My body's way of dealing with stress is for me to throw up. When I was fourteen, my parents were having major problems (due to my dad's abuse issues) and I was going through a manipulative relationship with a senior boy at my school and I threw up everything I ate for weeks and weeks. When there was blood in the throw up, that's when the doctors started looking more seriously into things. Even then, all they found was a hiatel hernea, which wouldn't have caused any of the symptoms I was suffering from. So we had discussions on reducing stress and I realized that most of my problems were (pathetically) caused by the boy, and I broke things off completely with him.

        Later, when I was living in Germany, I had a similar episode. I've always thought that I'm so slow to recognize my emotions, especially negative ones, that my body has to break down for me to realize that I'm not at all happy.

        • notemily says:

          I feel like that's kind of what happened to me too. I never thought I was the kind of person to repress my emotions, but when I got sick, it made me realize just how unhappy I had been for the past few years. So now I'm working on recognizing that unhappiness before it gets that far.

          I had a boyfriend once who would get a bad headache every time he was anxious or upset about something, but he never realized the connection between his mood and his headaches. Obviously I don't think EVERY physical ailment is related to mental stuff, but some things are our bodies sending us signals, whether we recognize them or not.

    • notemily says:

      Part two of this comment will appear once the admins figure out I'm not selling drugs.

    • Lynn says:

      Thanks for sharing. Anxiety and depression can often go hand in hand. Anxiety is so debilitating. I hope that you are doing better with everything now as I don't see your part 2 that you reference.

      • notemily says:

        Yeah, when my anxiety level gets to a certain point, it's like someone flips a switch and I immediately sink into depression. They definitely go hand in hand for me.

        And yes I am doing better. Hopefully part 2 will show up. I referenced certain meds in it that triggered the moderation filter, I suppose.

    • This is the state I'm living in right now, especially with my stomach. I had a colonoscopy just last year, along with a few other tests from the netherworld. (Upper G.I.s are the DEVIL.) I was worried that I had some undiagnosed stomach ailment that they missed, but now I'm considering that my anxiety might be causing it.

      I'm so sorry you had this too. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, even if I allowed myself to have enemies. I have to say, I really respect that you're sharing this, because it's given me a bit of hope that I might be able to get help.

      • notemily says:

        **hugs** I'm so sorry. There is life on the other side, I promise.

        I don't know if my anxiety caused my stomach problems, but it definitely makes them worse. Mental and physical ailments are more linked than people realize, I think.

  91. erin says:

    So this is depressing story time, Y/Y? Okay, I've got one. My older (step)brother died in a motorcycle wreck halfway through my junior year of high school. Life was really strange for a while. He was a lot older than me, so we weren't extremely close, and daily life wasn't really disrupted after he was gone, but I'd be going through the day like normal and then just burst into tears for no particular reason. But it really messed up my parents (I call my stepdad my parent, since he's ben around since I was three).

    They've always been the bickering sort, but it just got worse and worse and they'd be at each other's throats over the smallest things. My mom's been an alcoholic for as long as I can remember, and between her grudge-holding ability and my dad's ridiculously short fuse, every night was just a battle zone at our house. I hated my mom's drinking, so we'd get into fights almost as often as she and my dad did, always ending with her telling me I was an ungrateful kid, and the rudest person she'd ever met, and how I was *just* like my biological dad, and that was so disappointing. Don't get me wrong, my mother's a wonderful person, but she can be really nasty when you do something to tick her off (like tell her she's had too much to drink). My grades slipped. I didn't get into substance abuse or self-harm or anything, but I was constantly trying to sleep my problems away. I would come to school every other week in tears because I was sure that, this time, my parents really were going to get divorced. It was a seriously shitty two years until I graduated. I'm in college now, and my parents are in therapy (finally), but I still flinch every time I hear a door slam late at night, until I remember I'm not at home and no one's about to start screaming. I was never on the brink of suicide or anything, but it was a pretty dark period in my life.

    I did have one wonderful, hippy-ish teacher who would ask me every morning, "What's the matter Erin B.? You always look like you've got the world on your shoulders!" and I would smile and shrug and say 'I'm just tired.' But I would hear from friends who had the same teacher that he was always asking after me, seeing if I was alright. Honest to God, hearing that he cared enough to ask how I was doing always choked me up. Still does, even two years later. I wish I'd had the nerve to tell that guy how much his concern meant to me. I feel for all the people on here sharing their stories of hard times. :/ Hugs to everyone who's ever felt like life is hopeless!

    • erin says:

      Wow, tl;dr much? I swear it wasn't meant to be such a long story… >.> Look what this blog inspires people to talk about! I've never told any of that to anyone!

      • drippingmercury says:

        This blog is awesome that way. We can actually talk about this sort of thing without people rolling their eyes and saying "tl;dr". Thanks for sharing.

    • Lynn says:

      Thanks for sharing. It is great that you had a teacher who cared. I helped teach a course to teachers called "How to spot a troubled child" and it was about all kinds of issues and ways for teachers to approach it. It also gave them resources and educated them about things like depression, suicidal ideations, eating disorders and other topics. I think so many teachers feel helpless and have no idea what to do. I am glad that you had someone who cared!

    • I had two teachers like that.. They made me feel like I wasn't just a freak show or a weakling, and they went out of their way to give me hope. I'll never forget one day, after two blokes had spent a day of, "see if we can make the sick kid cry", when my drama teacher sat next to me and whispered, "Baby, don't let the Bastards get you down."

      That man's kindness changed my life.

      • erin says:

        Isn't it awesome how much a little encouragement from someone you don't even know very well can keep you going? I took a lesson from my teacher (lolz puns are fun!) and try to be the same way to other people.

  92. drippingmercury says:

    re: breaking points – One thing your blog has taught me, Mark, is how unwilling I am to comment on my own experiences. But I really, really love how you address these things in your blog and how you provide a safe space for others to do the same in the comments. Cheers to you and all of those saying the sort of things I couldn't put into words myself.

  93. vampira2468 says:

    I really need to be reading along with this.Only read this one once

  94. "Katniss Explains it All"?

    You, my friend, win ALL the things!

  95. canyonoflight says:

    I broke when my dad died in 2007. I really didn't start to pull myself back together until last year (totally proving the "ten times as long to put yourself back together" statement from Finnick).

    Well, I broke again at the end of last year as well and it led to taking an anti-depressant b/c therapy alone wasn't cutting it.

    I don’t know, am I alone in this?

    I thought it was incredibly awkward as well that she explicitly explained the metaphor. It took me right out of the story.

  96. Kat says:

    You ain't seen nothing yet Mark. Seriously, you thought THIS was crazy? Shit is about to get so real buddy.

    • Gabbie says:

      We're about a third into the very last book, and we're still warning him! I don't know, that just seemed funny to me.

  97. syntheticjesso says:

    It feels stupid to say that I broke because of a boy, but if you boil it way down, that's essentially correct. Of course, the boy was a manipulative, selfish, jerkfaced liar who (it turned out later) never really cared for me as a person, so that makes it make more sense. He was lying to me before we ever started dating, and I honestly don't think we ever would have dated if I hadn't been the one to say I had a crush. Looking back, I can see it was a manipulative, almost emotionally abusive relationship. I always feel like such a drama-llama using the phrase "emotionally abusive" but dang if it doesn't fit almost perfectly.
    I was dirt poor because I had just moved out of my parents' house with a crappy paycheck and was figuring out how to budget for the first time ever. He was living back at home with his mom and blowing lots of money on video games. Somehow, it was almost always me doing to driving to see him- a 45-minute drive one way- because he didn't have the money to drive out my way. He always had money for fast food and video games, though…
    When I did visit him at his mom's place, most of that time wasn't really quality time. Sometimes, we would watch some video he wanted to watch, whether I wanted to or not. Other times, he would be "busy" talking to his friends on AIM, so I would be left to entertain myself. I really wish I had stood up for myself when he did this, and just walked out and gone home instead of sitting there like a moron wishing for him to pay me any attention. The only way I could get any attention was by suggesting that we go somewhere. Once, he even lamented the fact that I couldn't afford an internet connection, and said that our relationship would be better if I had one. No lie.
    Then the "physical stuff". I'm a prude, I don't even like *talking* about Adult Situations, and I always just Knew that I would be a virgin until I married. That's what I wanted. Unfortunately, he was pushy, and I was completely, utterly unprepared for it, and long story short one night I felt like I couldn't say no and, well.. yeah. I know now that he HAD to have known what he was doing, and that he probably didn't care because he wanted what he wanted. I wasn't his first. He knew better. But he didn't bother to, say, talk to me ahead of time, or talk about it at ALL until after the fact, or anything. Just HEY HERE WE GO.
    When he finally dumped me (three days before Christmas! Classy!) he proved to be a master of spin. He wasn't breaking up with me because he didn't really care about me and wanted to be free to move to a different city to live with his friends, no! He was breaking up with me because the effort of trying to be in love with me was preventing him from getting a better job, paying off his debts, moving out of his mom's house, and, I don't know, curing cancer while rescuing orphans from burning buildings. And the worst part was that I actually believed him. I believed him! I had never had much self esteem before, and after almost a year of being with him I had almost none left, so when he fed me this line of lies, I actually freaking believed him. (cont)

    • syntheticjesso says:

      (part 2) It broke me. For the next month and a half, I was constantly nauseous, always on the verge of tears, and utterly depressed. I believed there was something horribly wrong with me, that made me hard to love, and I couldn't figure out how I was ever going to "fix" myself. I had absolutely no hope whatsoever for my future. I wasn't fully suicidal, in that I never had a plan for trying anything, but I constantly wished for something to just kill me. I drove really recklessly, hoping for a wreck to kill me. Whenever I was outside I hoped for a meteorite to smash my head in. It was bad. I don't really remember much about that time. I was so stressed that I was perpetually nauseous, so my doctor gave me Phenergan, which made me really sleepy. When I wasn't sleepy, I buried myself in books. I know which books I read, but until I recently reread them, I couldn't have told you what really happened in them. I wasn't really reading them so much as escaping into them.
      One day, at work, after I had broken down in tears for the third time that day, my boss pulled me aside and gave me a hug and some kleenex and asked if I had thought about getting professional help. It blew my mind a bit, because I hadn't. Professional help was for crazy people or depressed people or people with Real Problems, and I was just stupid girl sad from a breakup, right? But I looked into it, and found a FABULOUS counselor who looked like a Santa Claus in training (he even wore red sweaters) and words cannot even begin to express how much good that he did for me. It brings tears to my eyes, even now, to remember how much good counseling did for me. He helped me rebuild myself, and get a better perspective on the situation. It wasn't my fault that I believed his lies- it was HIS fault for DOING the lying. I still remember that revelation hitting me like a ton of bricks. I also remember the day that I realized I was one of "those women" who took mistreatment from their boyfriends/husbands and justified it with "but he loves me!" That one hurt. But damn, it all came together and made me the SUPER AWESOME STRONG LADY OF AWESOMENESS that I am today.
      I have a bit of self esteem now, can you tell? I even managed to work up the courage towards the end of my counseling to ask for a raise. It was terrifying, but I did it, and I got it. This was a few years ago, but the lessons still stick with me. I still play "What would Santa say" with myself sometimes, when I know that I'm being unreasonably negative towards myself or something, and I can honestly say that counseling with Santa changed my life. I am so, so lucky that my story of breaking has a good ending, and I am so, so grateful for it.

      • notemily says:

        When I was super depressed I read books still, but I felt like I wasn't really enjoying them. Everything seemed bland and boring and dull. I bet they were good books, I just couldn't appreciate that because the reading experience was so colored by my depression.

        "counseling with Santa"–I love that. 🙂 I'm glad you are doing better now.

        • syntheticjesso says:

          Santa was my code name for him. I felt weird and self-conscious talking about counseling, so instead I would say "I saw Santa today" or whatever. He really did look like he was in training to be Santa! He was really wonderful. He gave off this fatherly vibe that let me feel really comfortable with him, and we were both the sort to talk in stories and ideas and pictures so it meant we communicated VERY well. I don't think I could have found a better counselor for me if I'd searched for a decade, and I'm SO glad I happened across him!

    • notemily says:

      I don't think you're a drama llama. Emotional abuse is serious shit. People don't take it as seriously as physical abuse but it can be just as damaging.

      That relationship sounds awful. I had a bad relationship where the guy only paid attention to his own problems and never to mine, and he expected me to pay attention just to him without ever expressing my own needs. It was really, REALLY bad for me. I was only able to end it when I realized I was slipping back into The Pit of Despair (the term I use for my really bad depression). Looking back it seems so shocking to me that I could ever have let it get that bad, but at the time I just didn't realize it. So yeah, I empathize with this.

      And the sex thing… ugh. 🙁 How awful. *hugs*

      • syntheticjesso says:

        I think I am averse to the phrase because it makes it sound like he MEANT to break me. My ex never set out to break me, he was just too… stupidly self-centered to stop himself. Ending it and doing the right thing and being honest with me would have been too much effort, so he didn't bother until he wanted to move away.

        it's amazing how you can get so used to such a horrible situation, isn't it? Looking back, I can see all the red flags and recognize the downward slope, but at the time? I really didn't even begin to realize how bad it was. It really blows my mind that anyone could so effectively delude oneself. I'm very glad you had the strength to get out. I have to say, I really do wish I had been able to do that for myself, instead of it only ending because he wanted it to. But! I did learn a LOT from my counseling, so I can at least have good hope that I won't get into that kind of situation again!

    • Lynn says:

      If it makes you feel any better the same thing sex wise happened with my first boyfriend and I. It was terrible so I understand to some degree how you feel (thought no two people feel things the same way). I would disassociate to deal with it. The guy was nearly three years older and knew I wanted to wait. I worked through it but it took into my adulthood before I did.

      After the "event" he turned more and more abusive because I thought I could fix everything by staying with him and eventually marrying him. He must have figured out his power because he became more and more emotional abusive and had a classic pattern. He lived in a bad situation with his family where I think there was some abuse so I think he was acting out some of his home situation with me and became sadistic in a way to deal with his own pain. I was ashamed for a long time about the powerlessness I exhibited. But I better understand what happened and why that a lot of time has gone by. So please don't be ashamed. I am so glad that you got help with a counselor.

      It was very brave of you to share this. I had thought about sharing my story earlier and chickened out. My husband is one of the only people to know everything that went on during that time. I just spent a lot of time blaming myself and feeling worse for "allowing" myself to get in that situation. I understand now that I did not allow it and why it happened but for a long time I did not.

      I am sorry that you had to go through something like this and I suspect it is more common that we suspect with women. I just think the shame prevents people from opening up. So your story may reach someone going through a bad situation and empower them to get out of a bad relationship.

      • syntheticjesso says:

        I am glad to say that I am no longer ashamed of what happened. My counselor talked me through that one, and time has given me the perspective that yeah, it happened, and I can't change it. It's just a fact now. Looking back, I don't feel shame or sadness or even anger- it's all just facts. Since I've changed so much since all of it happened, it's almost like it happened to someone else. When I think about it, it's like re-watching a sad movie- I feel bad for the main character, and I strongly empathize with her pain, and I want to tell her that it's all okay in the end, and I especially want to give her a hug, but then I turn off the movie and I'm back in my life and my life is fantastic. It took time to be able to get this way, but now… yeah, it's facts, it happened, I learned a helllllllll of a lot about myself and got a helllllllllll of a lot stronger for it.

        Don't feel bad about being hesitant to share your story. These things are so personal, and it can be so hard to reveal them to just anyone. For me, I've always been kind of an open book, so it's easier for me. Plus, my story has a pretty great ending: counseling with Santa, rebuilding myself, becoming so much stronger, rediscovering happiness and joy and LIFE, and all of the great things that have happened to me since then! That makes it easier to share, too, because I WANT to share and let people know that even if you think you're at a point with no hope (I certainly had no hope) it's still TOTALLY possible to get help and go on to lead a great life.

        I especially like to share because I hope it will help keep people from falling into the same trap I did, where I never even considered counseling or therapy or anything, because I thought it was only for "crazy" people. That light bulb moment when I realized that *anyone* could get counseling if they needed help was so startling. If my boss hadn't suggested it to me, I probably never would have sought help, and I don't want anyone else to be in that position if I can help it.

  98. Goldilocks says:

    When you said 'POLY LOVE', I thought you meant 'POLYGAMY LOVE'.
    That is a hilarious image. Katniss never has to choose! She marries EVERYONE!

  99. MAC says:

    I just finished reading this book. Brace yourself, Mark. Your unpreparedness is painful.

  100. Southpaw says:

    I'm a first time commenter, but…I just finished reading all the comments, about everyone's break downs and…I just want to say that I love all of you and…it's just amazing, Mark, that you're able to- bring everyone together here. Yeah, your blogs are about your impressions of various literature- but it's more than that, too. It's so much more- you're really a beacon of hope. And I just wanna hug you and all of your readers. <3

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