This article, entitled Obsessed, Part 1 comes from Erin Ferris at http://amidwesterngirlincowboycountry.blogspot.com
For as long as I can remember, and even before, according to my mother, I've had something of an obsessive personality. My minor obsessions are fleeting, the flame of interest lit and extinguished within a week or so. But my major obsessions stick around for anywhere between a couple of weeks and a few months, and often monopolize all of my free time.
Here are a few examples:
So I guess it was about time for another obsession - something interesting and thought-provoking with large doses of adventure and danger and romance thrown in - to find its way into my life. The Hunger Games trilogy turned out to be exactly what I didn't know I needed, and it arrived on my doorstep when there was finally room in my life for a distraction.
My newest obsession is The Hunger Games.
Yes, I realize I'm more than a little late to this party. But with the exception of Rascal Flatts, who I loved from the very moment their first single hit the airwaves, I have ALWAYS been a little late to the party. Email? A ridiculous way to communicate. It's never going to catch on. Cell phones? A waste of money. There's a pay phone two blocks up and four blocks over that I can use any time I want. I've eaten my words more often than I'd like to admit, especially with regard to technological developments and entertainment trends.
So it makes sense - if you consider my history of loving, appreciating, taking advantage of, or buying whatever everyone else loved, appreciated, took advantage of, or bought six months previously when the buzz first began - that I'd just now be jumping on the Hunger Games band wagon.
Though the first book in the trilogy (in case you've been living under a literary rock, as I was, the series includes The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) was released in 2008, I hadn't heard of the series until earlier this year when The Hunger Games movie trailer was released. Friends and acquaintances who'd read the books described them as interesting, engrossing, and even amazing...young adult fiction.
The last books I'd heard described as young adult fiction were those in the Twilight series. I tried to read the first Twilight book and watch the first Twilight movie (were they both called Twilight? I have no idea), but both made me want to jam a pencil into my eye. I still ponder what I could have done with the hour I lost watching Edward and Bella sulk around their dreary high school cafeteria. Probably something amazing. Like laundry.
Not to mention the fact that I'm 33, people. I can't be seen reading young adult fiction (which in my head = Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters' Club) during Will's baseball practices or on the treadmill at the gym.
So when I heard The Hunger Games described as young adult fiction I made a decision - the wrongest of wrong decisions - to avoid all things hungry and game-related.
While visiting family in Nebraska I came across a copy of The Hunger Games and asked my father-in-law about it. As it turns out, the book belonged to my sister-in-law, who'd read and LOVED it. She'd lent it to my father-in-law, who'd also read and loved it. He told me to take it, and I did, though reluctantly and mostly to be polite, as my in-laws were moving in a few days and I figured if I took the book they'd be left with one less thing to pack, move, and unpack. When I returned home I went back to oscillating between yet another James Patterson mystery and The Lord of the Flies (which is, in my opinion, the slowest read on the planet), while The Hunger Games collected dust.
Two weeks later and while visiting me in Texas, my sister noticed the book - which I hadn't yet started - on my nightstand. "OMG HAVE YOU READ THIS YET?!" were the first words out of her mouth. She was mortified when I said I hadn't, and then she told me she'd watch my kids that afternoon so I could crack it open.
Now that the trilogy had the recommendation of three people whose opinions I greatly respect and none of whom I'd categorize as Sweet Valley High-reading young adults, I felt it safe to start reading.
Will/Hallie: "Can we have a snack?"
Erin: "Eat whatever you want. Take it to the playroom
and watch a cartoon." That's A+ parenting, people.
I have no idea what happened around the house that afternoon, because once I started the book I literally couldn't put it down. My sister was as engrossed in Mockingjay (the third book) as I was in The Hunger Games, so we read for hours every afternoon while our kids were napping. And while our kids were awake, we basically threw snacks in their general direction (it crossed my mind to attach their snacks to silver parachutes and drop them from the roof, until I realized that constructing silver parachutes would mean time away from the book) and then sent them outside to play so they'd leave us alone.
When one of us had to step away from our reading, the other one read my book aloud so we'd never have to fully disengage from The Games. (I'm not kidding - she read aloud while I made dinner, I read aloud while she cut my hair, and one evening, while our husbands watched the NBA tournament, we climbed into bed together like we did when we shared a room as little girls and read aloud for hours.)
As soon as I finished The Hunger Games I moved on to Catching Fire (which my father-in-law had since mailed to me), and I bought Mockingjay just a few short hours after I'd finished Catching Fire. For the amount of time it took me to finish the three books I did essentially nothing but read and take care of my kids' most basic needs until Tom came home from work, and then I just read.
At the beginning of the month I spent a few days at The Lincoln Lodge in Northern Wisconsin with the kids, my in-laws, and my sister-in-law, Jenna. All of us were at various stages of reading the books, and Jenna and I spent much of our free time (free = not reading) reenacting our favorite Hunger Games and Katniss moments.
While at the Lodge we actually had an experience that made us feel like we were in the arena, minus the children, tracker jackers, walls of fire, and mutts trying to kill us, of course...
One night an incredibly strong storm - thunder, lightening, torrential rains, and 80+ mph winds - blew through the area. Around midnight, my father-in-law woke up, realized we'd only loosely anchored the boat to the shore earlier that day, and prepared to head down the steep hill to the water to remedy the situation. Jenna and I were still up, watching movies and reading our books, so we decided to join him on his adventure. We threw on light-weight parkas, hats, and flip-flops and headed out into the pitch-black night.
I can't remember the last time I went out in a storm like that one. We slipped and slid down the stairs (of which there are MANY) and then trudged through the muddy sand to the water, where we discovered the boat still anchored to the shore. We carefully maneuvered our way down the dock and into the boat to gather those things that hadn't yet but might very well be blown away, and then we waded into the lake to literally pull the boat further onto the shore with our bare hands. We were absolutely drenched, incredibly cold, and covered in sand, mud, and pine needles. And it was perhaps the most fun I had the entire time we were there.
I've harassed my mom and Tom into reading the books. Though neither seemed all that interested in the beginning, they're now completely hooked, as I assured them they'd be if they'd just give the series a chance.
The proof of Tom's commitment came in the form of a text he sent to me after finishing Catching Fire:
"Just saw a lizard on the bush outside the kitchen window. Is it weird that the first thing that came to mind was, 'If I were in the Hunger Games I could eat that'?"
I was so proud.
So my obsession has been hanging around for a few weeks now, and I don't really foresee it moving on until after November, 2015, when Mockingjay Part 2 arrives in theaters. (As a side note and teaser for a blog post to come, I'll mention that not only does Catching Fire premiere on my birthday in 2013, but Jenna and I have plans that will hopefully land us on the red carpet...) I'll admit this seems like a long time, but there IS a positive associated with this timeline - since the next three movies will all be released on or within two days of my birthday, Tom won't have to worry about coming up with how we'll celebrate. I can hear him breathing a sigh of relief as I type.
A few final thoughts to bring this rant to a close: