30 September 2012

Teenland: Comparative review of Divergent by Veronica Roth

My heart fluttered in my ribcage through out the summer as I dove deeper and deeper into the Sci-Fi Teen genre.  I thought I had broken free from those old binds that used to confine me as a 15 year old.  You know, the binds of first love, stupidity, despair and stupidity.  But alas, no; one child, one husband, a world of experience cannot completely erase the teen in me.   

Stupidity is the theme of my self-imposed teen summer.  I seemed to ebb and flow from pure enjoyment to pure frustration while reading both  The Hunger Games, and the Divergent  trilogies.   Katniss's and Tris's lack of emotional intelligence drove me to distraction.  How could Roth and Collins  develop  strong, vibrant female protagonists who both come across as emotional morons?  For God's sakes ladies, the boy likes you!

Contemplating my summer of stupid that was basically spent under my backyard maple tree ( got one tree and a deck....resist the urge to picture some type of Canadian dream retreat with loons and shit)  I am surprised at  how long it took me to come to terms with both of these series. I realized that to  embrace the books I had to look back to my own teen years and more specifically the level of idiocy I displayed.   Katniss and Tris are morons because guess what, that is what being a teen is all about. Sure, they are dealing with death, blood and murder but they are still young women experiencing love for the first time.  Am I selling the series to you?  Or like me is the thought of walking in your old beat up Doc Martins (!) really a quick trip to the first level of hell?  However you view it, both authors successfully capture the tortured,  touching emotions of  first love.  

There is a great amount of stupid behaviour in both these series but as I came to realize, good stupid.   I should also mention there is a great amount of violence that acts as the backdrop to  Katniss's and Tris's world view.  I must say I had quite the enjoyable reading summer skipping through pages of utter carnage while sitting looking out over various wading pools making sure my son was not drinking the water or taking off naked down the street.   Having already climbed high on top of the bandwagon that is The Hunger Games let me officially state that while The Hunger Games manages to have the glamour attraction to it, it is Veronica Roth's Divergent series that displays a more original plot with tighter, more controlled writing.