This story starts last Thursday when I received the book from USPS around 1:00 in the afternoon. It references some SPOILERS, probably offers not much plot summary, and mostly accounts how I read the book.
Slowly, a few chapters at a time, I read in the afternoon. I wanted to savor the story and the characters' return to my mind. Sometimes I realized I read aloud passages in a whisper because the descriptions, characterizations, and dialogue fed the cravings that I put on hold all these months waiting for the book release. I soaked up Katniss' reactions to her "rescue" and the people around her and the ones missing. I cried whenever Katniss saw something (the dresses, the uniform) made by Cinna (probably because I watch too much Project Runway). Missing was the panic I felt when Gale showed up at the end of Catching Fire, presumably (in my mind) to "replace" Peeta in Katniss' life. I saw Katniss' role as Mockingjay take shape and the essence of her character re-emerge during the staged and unstaged forays into "battle".
Many distractions surrounded and helped me in this slow reading endeavor - my child, the computer, my journal, TV, dinner, the rest of our family, and so on. The slow quality of reading is not natural to me, but slow reading that afternoon felt like yoga practice with measured breathing, balanced.
The pace shifted into FAST mode, my usual style for reading excellent action/adventure novels, around 10:00 that night, when it was dark and quiet in the house, and I read and pushed and read and finished at about 3:00 in the morning, Friday. Then I was awake for at least another hour, unable to rest my mind that was full of Katniss and Peeta's struggles to survive and fight for justice, graphic violence that always seems unnecessary to me but prevalent in this trilogy, and random thoughts about the upcoming school year.
I'm relieved their story has ended. The consummate survivor is Katniss Everdeen.