I thought that everyone might enjoy hearing from someone else for a change, so here is Nancy’s review of this month’s book. Just for the record, I choose Amity. Yes, I am the peacemaker! When it comes to family conflict, my husband calls me Henry….Henry Kissinger that is! What faction would you choose?
Divergent is book one of a trilogy (the third book has not yet been published). It is of the dystopian genre, written when the author was a first year college student. Divergent is classified as young adult, fiction.
Divergent has been compared to The Hunger Games. In Divergent, when children turn 16 they have to choose their “factions”. If they choose other than their family of origin, they must leave their family forever. “Factions before blood” is a repetitive theme. Our main character, Beatrice/Tris is born into Abnegation. The Abnegation are a selfless group, always putting themselves last in order to take care of others. The four other factions are Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite. The factions were created in response to a great war. The Amity faction blamed aggression for the war, and thus embraced kindness and work as the caretakers. The Erudite faction blamed ignorance and embraced knowledge and are the teachers and researchers. The Candor faction blamed duplicity and thus embraced honesty and truthfulness at all cost to become the lawyers. The Abnegation faction blamed selfishness and became the government, and the Dauntless blamed cowardice and became risk takers whose jobs are to protect the entire community. There is another group, the Factionless, and they are the homeless of the society, existing without community. The goal is to chose the faction that best represents your personality and that faction becomes your community where you live and work, rarely interacting with the other factions.
The children are given an aptitude test in private to determine which faction best suits their personality. Initially, the book focuses on Beatrice and her difficulty living in Abnegation, as she feels she cannot instinctively be selfless, as opposed to her brother Caleb who is forever telling her how to behave. The Choosing ceremony, with the cutting and choosing of factions by dripping blood on the one of your choice, commences with both Beatrice and Caleb choosing factions other than Abnegation. The book goes on from there, delving into their factions of choice, the initiation proceedings, internal intrigue and some budding romances. There is also another group that cannot be chosen, but rather the results of the aptitude test places you in this group. To be Divergent you must have characteristics of any two or more factions. Beatrice’s characteristics include the factions Abnegation, Erudite, and Dauntless. Very few are in this group, and it must be kept a secret at all costs.
There is much time devoted to violence. It is at times a tedious read with many adult readers wondering how people could really think they could only be one personality, rather than a mix of many traits. In the end, things come apart, just in time for book number two!
The Friday Morning Bookclub gave Divergent mixed reviews. Those that liked The Hunger Games, not surprisingly, liked Divergent. Those of us not really into the dystopian genre did not particularly like the book. However, one of the joys of book club is reading books you wouldn’t normally read, and added to that is the fact that my 16 year old son enjoyed the book and it gave us many dinner-time discussions. He has already started book two, Insurgent.