I’m pulling the following post out of my archives, in anticipation of Friday’s opening of Divergent, the movie based on the best-selling book by Veronica Roth. I wrote this post almost exactly two years ago, after reading the book. Check it out and then watch the movie trailer at the bottom of the page.
It was a really rough fall/early winter for me. Normally an avid reader, I took an almost three month hiatus from being captivated by literature. This was my longest no-read stretch since my youngest started kindergarten five years ago. How often I read does depend a bit on how good of a book it is. (Thankfully my book club only rarely picks duds.)
For lackluster selections… I read when I’m bored.
For can’t-put-it-down titles… I read whenever I can: while waiting for the kids to finish activities, when the doctor is running late, after the kids go to bed, while dinner is cooking, and even sometimes when I probably shouldn’t be reading, like during my daughter’s soccer game (when she’s not on the field) or school concert (only when she is not on stage). [Hey, before you judge, have you ever been to a fourth grade orchestra concert? The fact that I could actually concentrate on anything shows super-human-focusing power, and that the book must be awesome, which certainly accounts for something, right? 😉 ]
I tried to read during those few months. Really, I did. I even renewed a book twice (which is unheard of for me) to try and finish it. [That means I had the book for nine weeks and still couldn’t finish it, which is more about my state of mind then the book’s topic.] I kept rereading the same pages, without understanding any of it.
But finally, I had a breakthrough. Just after Christmas, there was a book that was so good it was able to pierce through my veil of no-read funk: Veronica Roth’s Divergent.
If you know me, you’re aware that I am a huge fan of The Hunger Games. Having said that, I can honestly say I liked the first book of the Divergent series (gasp) a bit better than The Hunger Games series. After finishing the book, I looked the author up online and was fascinated by what I found. She is a mere 23 years old. While studying creative writing at Northwestern, she wrote what would become the Divergent trilogy “in her spare time.” Nice. And now she has a major blockbuster trilogy, for which she has already sold the movie rights. Can you imagine? I have always dreamed of writing a novel, but have never had the time to devote to it (gotta actually earn a living, after all). But this girl gets out of college and can just write as much as she wants without worrying about paying the bills. You go girl!
Aside from her amazing (albeit short) bio, the plot is stellar: “In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.”
As I was reading, I found there to be an underlying thread of the good vs. evil concepts I so love from some of my favorite authors (like Ted Dekker and Tim Downs). That prompted me to immediately google Veronica Roth after reading the final sentence. I read her blog and decided I really liked her. I mean I like her in the if-I-knew-her-in-real-life-I think-we-could-have-been-friends kind of way. And that’s always a nice way to feel about an author of a favorite book.
While it is the same genre as The Hunger Games, but there is something about this series (or at least the first book) that makes it seem more thoroughly vetted. I felt like there were some holes in The Hunger Games that really became evident in the last book (which I also felt was written more for the big screen than the small print). Now granted, The Hunger Games didn’t really fall apart for me until the last book [book 2 was my favorite… “Katniss, there is no District Twelve…” LOVE IT!], so I’ll just have to refrain from final judgement on Divergent until May of 2013, when the third and final book comes out. In the meantime, I am eagerly reviewing my calendar for as many reading times as possible in May of this year, when I can finally get my hands on book two: Insurgent.
Back to 2014: Now that all the books in the Divergent series are out, I must admit that the first book was by far the best. Insurgent was fine, but it didn’t really deliver what I had hoped/expected it to. And let’s not even talk about Allegiant… so many of my friends hated it that I haven’t been able to read it. I don’t want to be disappointed! But writing this makes me realize it is time to face the music and actually finish the series… so stay tuned.
Until then, I am on pins and needles waiting to see if the Divergent movie lives up to the book that finally pulled me out of my no-read funk two years ago. (And can I even tell you how much I love Ashley Judd as an actress?!?! So excited!)