I know I’m going to see it. Probably this weekend. But I’m afraid. The book disturbed me so much when I first read it that I’m reluctant to put myself through that again. That’s the main reason why I’m afraid to go: true pure cowardice.
The second reason is my fear of erasure. When I see a film version of a book I love, it superimposes images over the powerful, individual ones I have imagined, and they are erased forever. I can’t find my own vision of Hermione’s face or wild, bushy hair anymore. Wilbur and Charlotte no longer have their own, true plaintive and soothing voices. Edward Cullen, alas, is nothing like my own mesmerizing, smooth-voiced, vulnerable Edward Cullen anymore. I know the exchange can be worth it, as in the case of the dining hall at Hogwarts, which is even more magical in the film than it was in my mind, but even there, I’ve surrendered my own imagination to the common, shared vision of every other movie-goer.
I see Katniss as a skinny, scrappy, dirt-covered kid with a Southern accent. Her attitude is in her stance, and in the inner workings of her mind with all those quick-thinking fragments and decisions. I lived her perspective through the first-person narrative of the novel, and I still feel her loneliness and determination, her love for Prim and Rue. Suzanne wrote the book, but once I read it, Katniss and Peeta became mine, in the way only I absorb book characters. I can’t easily give them up in exchange for the Hollywood versions. So far, I’ve avoided watching any trailers, except for one that came up on TV during Modern Family last night, which both fascinated me and made me cringe. So far, the book experience is still pure. Mine.
So why will I go to the film? Curiosity will take me, plus trust that I’ll be truly entertained, and the little kid feeling of not wanting to be left behind. My son has seen it already, and my husband wants to go with me. I can’t choose to be blind to a major phenomenon that is reflecting and shaping my culture right now, either.
So I’ll go. Don’t mind me if I get a little moody and difficult in the aftermath.