For the month of April, Read It & Steep did our second field trip. When we began Read It & Steep back in March of 2012, I chose 3 books for us to vote on: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Warm Bodies, and Divergent. We read Peregrine that very first month. Warm Bodies became the book that inspired our first field trip to the movies. When we heard that Divergent was being turned into the next YA series cash cow, we figured, what the heck! We’d throw our money at it and finish out the last of that first three book selections.
Several of us met at the movie theatre the week before we discussed the book. The hardest part about our field trips is to not discuss the film or the book during our field trip night. I learned one thing in particular, and that was that I can’t sit next to one of our favorite Steepers, Melissa. She wanted to discuss the book while the movie was going on and I was having none of that! Once again, however, we had a wonderful time getting together outside of the library and it added a really interesting facet to our discussion of the book the following week.
Most of us felt fairly “meh” about Divergent. I had heard so many wonderful things about it leading up to when I finally read it. I had even stopped and started it two or three times before finally making it through on this go around. The Steepers came to the conclusion that this dystopian fantasy just didn’t have the believability of other popular series like it. For instance, most of us have absolutely no trouble believing that our materialistic, dog-eat-dog, media crazed society could morph into one that would watch children kill children in a competition a la The Hunger Games. In Divergent, however, we found lots of flaws with the reality Roth sets out for us. I will admit that those of us who continued with the series had some of those issues explained, but the first novel raised several questions about the likelihood of “divergence.” Most of us Steepers believed that there would only be divergent people in Roth’s universe as no one has only one ruling trait.
That being said, the book and the film had its share of excitement and even a touch of smoldering romance. We agreed that while none of us had pictured Theo James as Four, his lips alone made the film worth a’watchin. We were disappointed with some of the alterations (those of us with tattoos were downright scandalized by the tattoo scene in the movie, if tattoos were quick and painless, the Dauntless wouldn’t care about them. We think that the film making it look like getting a tattoo in that world is equal to being licked by kittens as pretty preposterous. We also were bummed that the filmmakers felt it necessary to cut out the defining moment of Peter’s cruelty and vicious desire to be the best. See image to the right for a hint.
Overall, we felt like Roth’s world was unrealistic, especially with the finality of the decision these children make. Most of us could barely decide what we wanted to do for a weekend when we were 16, let alone how we wanted to spend our lives, especially when it could/would mean being completely alienated by family. We all felt like perhaps the teens should be granted some kind of “Rumspringa” where they get to experience life in the other factions for a period of time. I guess that would go against Roth’s idea that the children need to make their decisions built on their overriding trait, not where life would be comfortable.
The strongest feeling we all got from the book and the film was the hope that it encourages the YA crowd it’s written for to understand that not everything you read and/or hear can be taken at face value. It was a pretty fun film and a decent enough book, though everyone we talked to said that the second and third book get drastically worse. Oh well.
3.5 teacups from the Steepers.