The Divergent series
I’ll be the first to admit that whenever something (especially books) are hyped, I get caught up in the whirlwind. I read every little bit of media hoopla and my heart rate speeds up and an uncontrollable urge to BUY THE BOOK overcomes me. It’s a lucky thing I don’t live next to an all night bookstore or I’d be facing bankruptcy because this happens to me a lot.
So when I first heard about Divergent and the comparisons to Hunger Games (a book series I adore) I went quietly mad. I just had to get my hot little hands on it. I tried to caution myself, ‘Jennifer, you’ve been on this roller coaster before, remember how disapointing it is when the book doesn’t come close to your expectations.’ Naturally, I didn’t listen to myself, I was caught in a bookhype spiral.
Now, then, I got the book yesterday at 10:30′ish, grabbing the package from the hands of my startled postal carrier and hurried into the house. I then sat on the couch for five hours straight reading it. My coffee went cold, I nibbled on a stale bagel leftover from yesterday (I’m a bad housekeep, so what?) and cursed aloud when I had to use the facilities (our bathroom is freezing so I never take books in there since all I want to do is get in and out as quickly as possible).
From the very first page I was caught, ‘There is one mirror in my house. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every month, the day my mother cuts my hair.’
The voice of the main character Beatrice is so real, you almost feel like she’s stopped at your place for a long cozy chat, except the chat is about terrible things and will leave you sad, excited, worried and emotionally wrung out.
Like many a dystopian book the story starts out on the day when something important is about to happen. For Beatrice (and her brother Caleb) it is the day they are tested for their aptitude and will find out which of the five factions; Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, Amity or Dauntless they are most suited for.
Beatrice is Abnegation (Selflessness and humility). Each of the five factions represents something that was sorely lacking in the past and it is believed that the lack of these qualities are what lead to wars, famine and despair. As a daughter of Abnegation Beatrice lives a life of spartanness (is that a word?) and quiet reflection. Her factions people believe that the best way to prevent the mistakes of the past is to always give of yourself, from your time to the shoes on your feet. I think it could best be compared to the life of the Quakers, but without the wagons, farm animals and religion. They wear identicle gray clothing, their hair very plain and unstyled and they are a part of the world but apart from it (if that makes sense). They are quiet and often do the work that the other four factions don’t want to do, repairing the roads, repairing the broken down buildings of Chicago and running the government. As they are selfless it was decided that they would be the best choice in leaders, Beatrice’s own father is a leader and it is revealed early on that there are cracks in their perfect world. Not everyone is happy with the way the Abnegation run things.
Beatrice has always felt uneasy in her life. She wants things, to speak up, to run and laugh and often thinks she is selfish and wonders what choice she will make when the time comes. Will she choose Abnegation and stay with her family? Or will she choose something else, something so different that her parents would never approve of?
Candor are the honest, they are loud and abrupt and never lie, Amity are happy and spend their days singing as they work, Erudite are thinkers, they gather knowledge and create the computers and the Dauntless are the protectors, fearless and brave.
But her aptitude test doesn’t go the way it should and now the choice truly lies with her. Her choice will have long reaching consequences for herself, her family and everyone she cares about.
But Beatrice is not the only one with secrets. Her mother, the perfect selfless wife has a startling secret of her own, the same for her brother Caleb whose choice is surprising and then there is the mystery of Four, the young man that Beatrice meets after she’s made her choice of the factions.
I don’t want to give too much away, because the after part where she makes her choice is the meat of the story as her training to be a part of her chosen faction begins.
Anyway, after doing a few necessary, but horribly boring chores around the house, I plopped back onto the couch and finished the book around 6pm yesterday and ended up dreaming about it last night (lots of falling dreams, which you’ll understand after you read this book).
I highly recommend this book.