Rameau’s Ramblings: Those were the days. Originally posted on Goodreads on October 24th 2011.
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series–dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
This is one of those reviews that’s going to earn me a bad name for going against every single review for this book on my timeline. I know I’m fixating on the smallest thing, but that’s how my mind works. I simply can’t help it. I have to be painfully honest about this.
It’s bad when you can’t get past the first page without serious prompting from friends and a fanfic high, isn’t it? And it’s not because Roth can’t write, she absolutely can, beautifully and enticingly once you get going. It’s because I made the fundamental mistake of looking for sense where there was none.
It was the hair.
I’m not spoiling anything because this all happens right at the beginning of chapter one.
I truly couldn’t get past the hair. What’s the point of cutting her hair every three months, four times a year, if it’s still long enough to be tied on a knot? It doesn’t matter how long the hair is on the knot as long as it’s long enough to make one. Split ends? They’re Abnegations, supposed to veer towards selflessness, they’re not supposed to notice or care. Appearances aren’t supposed to matter to Abnegations. Even their food is plain.
The scene was about the mother taking care of her daughter, you tell me. It’s still vanity and an indication of the lives modern city women lead, if this is what they consider normal.
I have long hair which is often tied on a knot. I get it cut or trimmed twice a year, at most. More often, if I want to keep my chemically induced curls, but that would be considered flaunting and I wouldn’t fit in Abnegation then.
Speaking of which, I wouldn’t fit in any of the factions this society is divided in. Not even the rogue Divergent faction. That’s how artificial the setting is and that is how unbelievable it is to me.
There’s no way this kind of society could spring from the ashes of war ravaged earth. I don’t buy it for a second. And with that crumbles everything beautiful and true the author tried to convey. The love and loyalty? I simply didn’t care.
But if you do, if you find yourself swept away by the futile and the pretty, it is an entertaining novel on a certain superficial level. I’m just sad I couldn’t find that level when I started reading this book.
No, wait. I’m not sorry. I’m more complicated a person than that and that’s the way I like it.