Divergent. *sigh* Divergent how I love thee. You broke my heart a bit at the end it’s true, but I still love you.
First off let me tell you that after much discussion: Beside an outdoor fireplace in the mountains of North Carolina, in coffee shops and diners on busses, cabs and airplanes etc. My entire family and I have cast each other into factions:
I am a Dauntless/Erudite (but I wish I was more Abnegation).
My sisters are Erudite/Amity & Dauntless/Candor respectively.
My husband is just about the only pure Dauntless I know (but he is a “Uriah” Dauntless not the “Eric” brand….ok…I know Uriah is Divergent but WORK with me here…)
My mother is Amity/Erudite/Abnegation ( Really guys did we actually agree on that? I would have said Abnegation/Erudite with not so much Amity…sorry mom.)
And my Father is Abnegation (with a hint of Dauntless).
And that THAT is what I really and truly LOVE about this book; the discussion it inspires. For that reason alone I hold Divergent among one of my all time favorite YA novels. Since I first picked up Divergent I have had so many fascinating conversations about fear landscapes (what would be in yours??) and factions (see above) with all sorts of people. (Friends, family, strangers…) From what I gather, nearly everyone who has read these books has found him or herself embroiled in a similar sort of discussion with another Divergent reader.
It’s so exciting isn’t it?? To run into people on elevators who are carrying a book you love and ask them what they think about it. Well I think it’s exciting anyway…but I’m weird like that. (Also, apparently I talk to people in the elevator a lot…I do live and work in a high-rise though, so it’s probably not as weird as you might think.) These days such a huge amount of conversation is had in 140 characters or less (#Allegiant on my kindle!! is one of my 17 total tweets…. probably followed by #omgwtfallegiant.) And that’s not all bad (lord knows we might just survive the zombie apocalypse someday because of twitter). However it seems vital to our humanity that we occasionally tear ourselves away from the twitter feed, claps that cup of coffee in both hands, look another human being in the eye and talk about life and death, fear and sacrifice. Books inspire us to do that and this book specifically has offered up a beautiful framework for discussion.
So, lets discuss.
One of my favorite parts of this story was Tris’s extraordinary path of self-discovery. It’s no secret that I am a fan of a kick-ass female character tasked with saving the world (probably from some sort of dystopian hellaciousness). What made Tris unique was her evolution from an Abnegation trying to be a better person to a Dauntless who actually was. I loved that she struggled with the dogma of Abnegation selflessness only to discover her true Abnegation strength when she became Dauntless. Of course Tris’s path of revelation was certainly encouraged by Four….
Ok. Time out, I need a moment for a bit of absurdity. As book boyfriends go Four is definitely one of my favorites if I’m closer to 30 than 18 am I allowed to admit he’s completely hot?? (For the record he reminds me of my husband more than any other book boyfriend, maybe it’s the no nonsense Chicago boy thing?) Four in this book is just all deliciously dark and mysteriously brooding in a lets go chuck some knives at each other and face our darkest fears sort of way. I also sort of adore tattoos. Right then. Moving on.
Ridiculous fangirling aside, I really connect to the idea that Four expects a LOT from Tris. He does not attempt to shelter or carry her. Rather he pushes her, to try harder and be stronger. Four believes that Tris is better than she is and that allows Tris to see the best version of herself through the mirror of his confidence. Four in all his awesome repressed Abnegation Tobiasness is the first to show Tris that “When you’re acting selflessly you are at your bravest.” It’s a lesson for all of us isn’t it? That bravery is often found in humility and sacrifice.
Along with all the teachable moments this book has to offer, I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that the Chicago landscape is one of the reasons I have such a soft spot for the Divergent series. I’ve lived in this beautiful city for almost eleven years now. For the past five years we’ve been just south of the river near Navy Pier (that’s pretty close to Erudite headquarters). Roth has done a great job of re-imagining Chi-town in a state of disrepair while still being true to the city. The only thing I struggled to imagine was the Dauntless compound…while there IS a vast underground water system here I don’t know about that waterfall…but i’m trying to let it go. These days, I can’t look at the Hancock building without wanting to zip-line off the top or pass the ferris wheel without swooning a bit. *Sigh* If you’ve never been here and you love Divergent you should really try and visit someday. It is SUCH an amazing city (I’d recommend waiting til after this insane winter is over though).
So here’s the thing, I didn’t start this blog because I wanted to be a book reviewer (I think it’s safe to say I kinda suck at that). But rather because I really, really love discussing books and dissecting the way they change my perception of the world (It’s the Erudite in me). I also LOVE hearing what other people thought about a book and it’s themes. (Which is why I adore reading book blogs). In Divergent the fear landscape has truly captured my imagination. I WANT to try that! I am fascinated with the concept of facing and conquering fear.
My own fear landscape would would probably feature: Vomit (I’m emetophobic), zombies and or plague, the death of a loved one, failure, being overwhelmed, serial killers and possibly heights.
And now…if you read my bio you say…”Vomit and plague?? Hey aren’t you going to med school?” And I say “Hells yes! That’s why I love the idea of a fear landscape! Because in my own life I’ve decided that I WILL face that shit. There is just too much Dauntless in me to be letting something stupid like fear dictate my future!
So, what about you??? What faction would you be in and what would your fear landscape look like?? Of course if you’re Amity/Erudite like my sis you probably think that’s a SUPER personal question and you wouldn’t go within 100 feet of a fear landscape anyway ; )