Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Converging on Divergent

My mission this week is to try to read Divergent.  All of it.

Because movies, that’s why.

Divergent, in case you don’t live anywhere near teenagers, is the latest book craze to sweep through the YA crowd since The Hunger Games.  It’s a post-apocalyptic story set in what used to be Chicago, and that’s about as far as I’ve gotten today.  Everyone here just looks pityingly at me for being so slow to start, but it’s been hard to get a foot in the door with this series in our house.

Lauren read it first.  Her teacher lent her a copy for free reading time in class – she was a bit worried about how we would react, since apparently there are a few things in it that might be a little mature for a fifth-grader and she asked us about it at our parent-teacher conference last fall, but our policy is that our children can read anything they want and discuss it with us later.  We will let them know if we think it’s something they would probably not enjoy or get much out of, but if they really want to read we will not stand in their way. 

Lauren loved it.

By that point it had become rather popular in the wider culture too, and Tabitha had discovered it.  She loved it as well. 

The third book came out over Christmas, and we ended up with two copies – one that Lauren bought with her own money to give to Tabitha as a present, and one that Kim bought as part of a set of all three that we could share.  Both copies were immediately devoured, since there was no waiting.  Books galore!

We already knew that there was a movie version coming out this month – they had the previews out in November, when we went to see The Hunger Games 2 (see how this all circles back on itself?) and that was most of what the girls wanted to talk about afterward.  We’d say, “Didn’t you like the movie?” and they’d say, “But Divergent is coming!” and that’s just how that goes.

You have to read the books before you see the movies.  That’s just the rule.

So after the girls finished with the series Kim took her turn.  I was in the middle of something else, but I figured there would be plenty of time for me to read it.

Then Lauren lent out the first book to a friend, because that’s what you do with books you love.  You spread them around.

We borrowed it back last night – borrowed back our own copy! – and now I have mere days to get it finished before the movie opens.

It’s a challenge.


Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

Outstanding series. Knowing Chicago makes it more fun, but this is a very well crafted dystopia. I would be hard pressed to choose which I liked better between Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies -- big fans of the four books in the Uglies trilogy, too.

Dr. Phil

David said...

I enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy - especially the grace with which she ended it. That was a nice touch. I haven't actually tried the Uglies series, but I've heard a lot of good things about them. I'll have to put them on my list of things to read.

We live in the golden age of YA fiction, truly we do.

I just re-read The Book Thief, and it was as hauntingly lovely the second time around as it was the first time.

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

If you read the Uglies series and get stalled in the 3rd book, go ahead and read the 4th. It's very interesting and different.

Dr. Phil

neurondoc said...

I liked Divergent well enough but got stalled about a quarter of the way through Insurgent (I think that was the name of book 2). No desire to finish it or the series. I just don't like dystopias, YA or otherwise. I guess.

David said...

I'm about at that point in Insurgent now. It zips on by.

I do like dystopian fiction, and so far I'm okay with this series. But it is a fairly simplistic story, for all the issues it raises - the characters are interesting but thin, the moral framework is surprisingly black and white when you get down to it, and the world itself has yet to be fleshed out in any real way - hell, it's only at the end of the first book that the author even begins to explain why being Divergent is such a worry in this society.

The Hunger Games had more depth. The Book Thief had much better writing. And Phil, when I get to the Uglies I'll let you know. :)

But I'll finish the series, if only because then my children can talk about it without worrying about spoilers for me.