Veronica Roth’s Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley, comes to theaters next month. I just finished the book, and I am glad I was able to squeeze it in
Not surprisingly, Divergent sits somewhere between Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, with its version of a sorting hat and a divisive societal structure. It’s a simple story, that both teens and their parents can get into, and here’s why:
HP and HG have these themes. There are classes cropping up all over the world in response to the Christ-like sacrifice Harry’s mother made, and the political inequality reaped in the Capitol. But Divergent takes it one step further, explicitly, dividing “the people” into factions characterized by temperament, or values.
There are five: abnegation, amity, candor, erudite and dauntless. In layman’s terms, it’s generosity, peace, honesty, intellect and courage. The strengths and weaknesses of each are examined from all angles, and the “harmonius” coexistence is ultimately threatened by an outlier sense of individualism. Known as Divergent, it combines qualities of multiple factions, therefore shaking up the natural state of things when opposing values come into question.
Roth incorporates technology, not far off from Eggers’ Circle projection, but set ironically in a primitive world where citizens are simply expected to fulfill their designated roles in order to survive and maintain order.
Obviously, things go awry, and as I start the second novel in the series, I couldn’t tell you what I think will happen. There’s love, there’s loss and there’s a major statement on culture and identity, making Divergent a worthy fiction read.