Anyway, over the last two weeks I read Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins and Thicker Than Water by Kathryn Harrison. Reviews are under the cut in case of spoilers.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
So, I started reading The Hunger Games trilogy earlier this month and it hits a lot of my pleasure read buttons, especially w/r/t dystopian YA fiction, YA books that have the potential to spark interesting discussion around politics, ethics, class, etc., spunky girl protagonists, etc. Catching Fire the second book in the trilogy was a really quick read -- it clocks in somewhere between 300-400 pages, I think, but it's fast-paced and easy to read. I read it in one sitting in just a couple of hours.
All in all, I didn't think that Catching Fire was quite as strong as The Hunger Games, though it's definitely more openly political than the previous book (directly dealing with themes of political unrest/rebellion, the government using media spectacles as a form of controlling the population by redirecting their energies/attention, etc.) This book had a straight up cliffhanger ending w/ the main character, Katniss, being swept away by a rebel group, so I hesitate to write more about it until I've read the entire trilogy. I have the third book in the series, Mockingjay, waiting for me at home, so I'll probably do a big wrap-up/thoughts post when I've finished it.
Thicker Than Water by Kathryn Harrison
I've read two non-fiction books by Harrison (The Kiss and While They Slept), but this was my first time reading one of her novels. This book is basically a triggerfest, which I should have expected based on The Kiss (Harrison's memoir about the incestuous relationship she had with her father during her late teens/early twenties(?)) It took me forever to read this because the content (a semi-fictionalized account of Harrison's destructive relationships with her parents and grandparents) was so heavy. At times the writing was beautiful, but I don't know if it was enough to offset the content (at least, for me.) I do believe that books like this are really important and that stories of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse perpetrated within families need to be told, but I don't know if I was in the right place to read this. Having some background on Harrison's own life definitely impacted my reading of this and I would probably suggest reading The Kiss either before or after reading this for an enhanced perspective on things.
One thing I did really love about this was the portrayal of the main character's grandfather. I'm really close with my own grandparents and the way Harrison wrote the character of Isabel's grandfather totally broke my heart in a really powerful way.
Honestly, I don't know if I would continue reading Harrison's fiction (she has 5 other novels), she's a strong writing, but the recurring themes in her work are a little much for me to handle...
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