Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Twitter Sold Me Another Book

Status: This weekend, the husband and I rototilled our backyard, planted grass seed, and got my vegetable garden going, among other things. Translation: my whole body hurts. It hurts a lot. Having a house is
hard. It'll be worth it though. Assuming the grass actually grows. If not, all bets are off.

Number of queries sent: 27
Number of form rejections: 14
Number of detailed rejections: 1
Number of requests for additional materials: 1

As the title of this post suggests, enough people tweeted about a book that I felt the need to read it. Although, unlike Fifty Shades of Grey, I read this one because it sounded like the kind of book I'd normally read (rather than as a result of unquenchable curiosity following an insane amount of hype). Shockingly enough, I liked this one a lot more. (Not that I didn't like Fifty Shades...you can see my reactions/review here.)

So, without further ado, the book that I read is Divergent by Veronica Roth. This is a YA dystopian set in a distant future Chicago. After all the wars, etc. that threatened to destroy the human race, the people of Chicago split themselves into five factions. Each faction believes that one specific thing caused this whole near destruction of humanity thing, and similarly, one specific thing is most important for preserving life. Each year, all the 16-year-olds in the city have to choose a faction, and that faction will basically be their family--and define who they are and what they do--for the rest of their lives. Here are the factions:

1. Abnegation. They believe that greed is the root of all evil, and so strive to be completely selfless in all ways.

2. Amity. This faction believes that everyone should just be nice and live in peace with one another, and the anger, etc. that nearly brought about our downfall will never happen again.

3. Candor. Screw greed; lies are the root of all evil, so this faction believes it's important to be completely honest about absolutely everything all of the time.

4. Dauntless. These people think that humans nearly destroyed themselves because of fear. So they aim to be completely fearless. Or at least learn how to face/overcome their fears.

5. Erudite. Basically, people are frickin stupid. And stupid people make bad decisions. Or so believe the Erudite. They devote their lives to study, study, and more study. As long as people know as much as possible, they won't be able to make bad decisions that can lead to more wars.

My Take on the Factions

1. Abnegation. It is absolutely impossible for people to be completely selfless. You can try, sure. And if you're trying to be selfless for someone that you truly care about, you may even succeed. But it would be a small, limited success. Who the hell can care 100% about perfect strangers, and 0% about him or herself? I just find the whole notion hard to believe. Of course, it could be that I'm wrong, and there are people out there who could succeed at this. But I'm clearly not one of them. So, were I in this dystopian world, I definitely wouldn't be in this faction.

2. Amity. However, I don't see any reason not to be nice to people. Being nice to strangers and wanting to help them out isn't the same thing as completely giving up who I am as a person and basically acting like I don't matter at all. The Amity people seem kind of like hippies to me. As I posted here, I'm kind of a hippie. I seem to recall that at least some of them are farmers, so don't let what I posted about yard work in the Status section of this post undermine the fact that I think I'd do very well in this faction. I like being happy, I like being nice, and I often wonder why we can't just all get along.

3. Candor. The notion of having to be completely honest with everybody about everything all of the time absolutely terrifies me. And I'm a pretty blunt person. Really I am. But, as I just discussed, I'm also nice. There is absolutely no reason in the world to hurt someone's feelings just for the sake of hurting them. And, nice person that I am, I don't particularly care for confrontation. I mean, I don't mind arguing my point if I think I'm right and you're wrong. And if someone says or does something really, really horrible, I'll rant and rave against that person/their actions until kingdom come. But sometimes, it just isn't worth it. Or sometimes it literally wouldn't do anything but cause unnecessary trouble. We all have that one relative that we can't stand, right? Well, what's the point of ruining Christmas (or whatever family gathering) by telling them they're an asshole? Best to just keep quiet and keep the peace.

4. Dauntless. I mostly get this one, too. I think they take it too far at times, but I see how fear can cause a world of problems, and being willing to face that fear (i.e. still make rational decisions in the face of such fear) could be helpful. But since I'm a total chicken, no way could I ever be in this faction.

5. Erudite. I can get on board with the idea that humans almost went the way of the dodo because they're frickin stupid. I really can. But being stupid isn't the same thing as being wrong, just as being smart isn't the same thing as being right. Ignorance can only be blamed for so much. But according to this faction, only ignorant people can make bad decisions, so if they're wicked smart, everything will be peachy keen from here on in. But there have been plenty of smart people, who have studied and know all the facts, but still make absolutely horrible decisions because they think they're right. To the best of my knowledge, Hitler was a learned man. Doesn't make what he did any less disgusting and horrifying and terrible and just plan frickin wrong.

Anyway, those are my opinions about the factions. Overall, I think the whole idea is a tad simplistic. But that doesn't change the fact that this was a damn good read. Can't recommend it enough. Also, if you need more to convince you to read it, I also got my husband to give it a try. He only reads right before bed to clear his mind. On average, he lasts about ten minutes before he's fast asleep. But this book drew him in so much that he had several late nights, and only forced himself to stop reading each night because he knew the alarm would be going off at 5 am.

So have you read Divergent? If so, what faction do you think you'd choose?


  1. OhmyGoodness, I loved that book! The sequel comes out in three weeks, too. Cannot wait.

    Hey, this is kind of a personal question, but since you're in NH, are you going to SCBWI2012 next week?

  2. The husband and I can't wait for the next book either! I just added it to my calendar this morning so I won't forget the date. :)

    I actually didn't know anything about SCBWI2012. Where is it going to be?

  3. It's in Springfield, MA this year. Was just curious if a fellow New Hampshirite would be making the trek. :) (Also, that should be NESCBWI2012. Sorry 'bout that.)

  4. Interesting! I'll have to look into that.

    And yay New Hampshire!!!! Not originally from the area, but I absolutely love it. I've never felt more at home in my life. :)

  5. Holy crap! Another request! (I'm totally living vicariously through your participation in this contest. Hope you don't mind.) *throws more confetti* Yay!