Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I love a good futuristic dystopian novel.  They are a little bit in the pop culture right now, but it's always been my thing.  Fahrenheit 451 and the short stories of Isaac Asimov for example.  What I love about them is the exploration of society.  The question of what would life be like if these people were in power, or this mindset reigned supreme, or suddenly this aspect of culture or technology were to change. . .

In the book Divergent by Veronica Roth, the society has restructured after a great war into factions of people based on what they considered to be at fault for war and contention.  Thus their faction works to eliminate that weakness from among their ranks, developing instead the positive opposite character strength that they believe will help rebuild a better society.  These traits are selflessness, honesty, bravery, knowledge, and kindness.

Children are brought up in the faction of their parents, but when they turn 16 they take part in aptitude testing and then a choosing ceremony in which they can choose to remain in the faction of their parents or based on their aptitude results and preferences can choose to leave their faction and go through initiation to join another faction. 

The main character, Beatrice, grew up in the faction of Abnegation with her mother, her brother and her father, who--as a man valuing selflessness-- is a member of the government leadership.  Beatrice has never felt as effortlessly-selfless as her mother appears to be, yet her aptitude test results surprise her, and ultimately, so does her faction choice. 

As Beatrice learns more about herself, she also learns more about her society around her.  The factions are not all working together toward a common good, as she once believed, and she has a secret role to play in the unfolding events.  As she hones her strengths she comes to realize, with the help of a friend, that what she believed were her weaknesses may not make her so weak after all. 

                                               *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

That was my Reading Rainbow style book review in which I end by telling you to go pick up this book in your local library today!  Of course it may be a little difficult right now because the second book Insurgent just came out two weeks ago.  Jeremy and I are reading them together.  There is enough action for him, but not too much of the other kind of "action" that guys don't like reading about.

As I said this is Divergent WEEK, so I have a few more things to talk about in relation to the story.  But the next one will contain a good deal of spoilers, so I wanted to separate it from this review.   

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