One of the things I love about the holidays is that there is more excuse to read for long periods of time. People are taking those lat vacation days. The weather is cold. There’s no reason to go beyond you bookshelf for a good escape and a good story.
My holiday reading was Allegiant (Divergent Series) by Veronica Roth. This is one that I had been waiting to come out because I tore through her first two books last fall. Her books intrigue because of the dystopian setting and because of the strong, young female lead. As I a former reading teacher, I just couldn’t help myself.
When I first started this last book of her trilogy, I was disappointed to find out more about the life the characters were leading. I wanted this make believe world to be more, not more of the same. I’m not the only one who has felt this strongly about her last book.
Along with these comments, the ensuing days included death threats, 827 one-star reviews out of 2,452 total (to compare, it only had 647 five-star reviews) on Amazon.com, and a marketing counter-effort from Roth and her publicity team.
Roth spoke out on her personal webpage and to MTV.com about the overwhelmingly negative reaction to her third Divergent book — and it marked the first time Roth ever talked to the media about major plot points in any of her novels.
My mind changed when I hit page 300. Yes, the action picked up, but also the world outside the world Roth had created in the first two books proved just as unsafe and just as susceptible to the created world that Tris and Four grew up in. That’s powerful social commentary. That’s a coming of age theme appropriate for Roth’s target audience.
It’s interesting that the argument against Roth’s decision to have Tris pay the ultimate sacrifice is that Roth as an author had a great responsibility to her readers and to help guide and direct her readers. I think she did.
We aren’t used to this concepts as Americans and we would like to think that our young adults don’t need to work out the idea of self-sacrifice, especially if it means dying; however, in our recent history, we have had teens in a movie theater in Colorado have to make that decisions and elementary-aged children in school have to make that same decision.
No, I don’t want this to be true either. I want to protect the innocence of our children just as much as I wanted to protect Tris and wanted there to be someone else, anyone else besides a child be sacrificed, but there wasn’t in the shootings in America and there wasn’t in Roth’s book. Maybe, this young author has given us exactly what we need in the midst of the reality of world that seems dystopian in her books, but is life for our young adults.