I haven’t been fully present in my real life this week.
After months and months of resistance, I finally succumbed to the pressure to read Divergent. Then I raced through Insurgent. And now I’m making my way through Allegiant.
My resolve to be a Divergent holdout has been weakening for a while. Jennine at My Life in Books might have been the final nail in that particular coffin; if an adult teacher, with a love for The Great Gatsby and Les Miserables, intent on passing on a love of real literature to her students could get caught up in Divergent, what the hell was holding me back?
I borrowed the set from my friend. As she wisely pointed out, once I got started on the books I wasn’t going to want to wait around for my next hit.
These are the kind of books that you think about when you’re not reading, counting down the hours until you can re-immerse yourself in the world, snatching covert reading sessions wherever, whenever you can. I find myself looking around my life, attributing people to different factions: “You would totally be an Amity; she’s Candor without a doubt; you’re wearing Abnegation grey today.”
Since I’m apparently incapable of discussing anything non-Divergent this week, here are some thoughts.
I have always shied away from reading dystopian fiction. It’s not my go-to. But apparently there is room for it in my life. I loved The Hunger Games and when I was younger The Giver and The Chrysalids equally blew my mind. There’s something about reading books where an entire world is created for you, where there is only a hint of the world that you know, that is completely captivating.
Obviously Divergent has been compared to The Hunger Games. A lot. Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth, too, are constantly linked together. I had no idea Roth was so young (22) when the first book was published (another one to really drive home how much I haven’t accomplished in this life!). By the time Collins’ wrote The Hunger Games she had been writing for years, books and for TV. And I think you can tell. But over the course of the Divergent books, you can see Roth’s writing style evolve, feel that her choice of language becomes more thoughtful. That said, I don’t think I’m into the alternating points of view in Allegiant. I don’t know why we suddenly need Tobias’ view of how things go down. But maybe that will become clear later (I’m a little afraid of this 3rd book since everyone seems to have given up on it half way through- I don’t want to fall out of love).
I also normally give YA fiction a wide berth. I know – I’m totally an a-hole since clearly there are so many excellent examples of it out there these days. But I have trouble identifying with fictional teenagers that are making terrible decisions. I read Twilight and spent a lot of time wanting to shake Bella. Obviously Tris isn’t living for a man, and that makes things so much better, but I also seem to have become way more tolerant of fictional teenagers. I don’t seem to be holding Tris to grown up standards of behaviour and I’m certainly not so judgmental of her up and down relationship with Tobias.
Evidently I’ve grown as a person.
Anyway, people in my life are excited that I’m reading these. My 10 year old goddaughter and I are reading the same books. I try not to think about that too much. At least I’ll have someone to see the movie with and make it look like I’m just being a good aunt.