Divergent was not what I expected to be completely frank. It was actually far more believable than I ever thought it would be. Roth does a wonderful job creating a society that could exist rationally in the future. It is far from how society is today but does not stray into a world of complete inconceivability. The society revolves around the idea that government can control the thinking of the people by only allowing them to prescribe to one value. For example, Beatrice (Tris) the main protagonist was born and raised in Abnegation. The people of Abnegation do not live in luxury or style but rather prescribe to a bland life of selflessness. They do not look in the mirror at their reflection because this suggests vanity and they wear plain grey clothes and eat bland meals. The other for factions include Dauntless, a faction in which the people value bravery, the Erudites who value knowledge, Amity – harmony, and Candor – honesty.
In their sixteenth year, residents of the faction are giving an aptitude-like test which suggests which faction they belong to and from that test and their own personal wishes they choose which faction they will live in for the rest of their lives. It’s an interesting concept and the fractionization of the society is not completely unbelievable. What is even more interesting is that the government seems to believe by forcing people to prescribe to one specific school of thought, they will govern how the people behave. It seems play at the idea of nature versus nurture in an abstract way. Rather than allowing the people to prescribe to their basic inherent instincts the factions require each person to be nurtured into a predetermined prototype of their faction.
There are, however, people who do not fit into any specific category. These people are the Divergent and are feared by the government for their supposed inability to tune themselves into one school of thought. It is dangerous to be Divergent and Tris learns in her test that she is indeed Divergent. The proctor changes her results to Abnegation but if anyone finds out Tris is Divergent it can severe and possibly fatal repercussions. This story is honest because Roth takes you through Tris’ transformation from innocence to adulthood in a matter of weeks. Divergent is a coming of age tale about a young girl’s struggle to conform to societal standards while falling in love and learning who she truly is.
What I loved the most about this book is that it is not far-fetched and it doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to realize that our society is only a few steps away from dividing itself to prescribe to very rigid ways of thinking. Although I normally enjoy a little more science fiction in my reading this book is definitely a must-read. However, it does start out a little slow so you have to give Roth some time to suck you in and when she does you won’t be disappointed.
P.S. I hope you love Four as much as I do 🙂 He’s the strong and silent type – I forgot to mention there is some romance along with a lot of action and adventure, some betrayal, and some really disturbing realizations. All of this drama makes for a very entertaining and thought-provoking read!