01 February 2014

Can Failure Really Become Common Ground?

Recently, I've been reading a lot of young adult fiction... partly because I find I often enjoy that particular genre of literature that doesn't seem to be purely entertainment but also willing to ask good and real questions that don't always have clear and easy answers... and partly because I like to know what my kiddos are reading.

And so, in recent weeks, I read the Divergent Trilogy.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Here are a few quotable quotes... 

I found some wallpapers on line with some of the quality quotes that I'd notes. (In other words, I'm not responsible for any spelling errors.)

So what's the trilogy all about?

Set sometime in a future Chicago, society has divided into five (well, technically six, but more about that in a minute) factions or groups: Candor, Amity, Abnegation, Erudite and Dauntless. Each faction is characterized by a particular trait. You can probably figure out the respective traits by thinking about (or looking up in a dictionary if you need to) the meaning of their respective names. As teens approach adulthood, they are given a test to help them determine their primary trait. With that knowledge, each one then chooses whether they will remain in their family faction - where they've spent their entire life up to this point - or if they will choose a different faction based on the results of their test. Then, as "candidates" for their chosen faction, they go through a period of qualification/initiation: they train for some final "test" at which point they are then welcomed into their faction. Those who do not pass their qualification test become part of that sixth group - identified as factionless and they are the outcasts of society.

The lead character discovers during her test that she does not have a predominant trait... she is what they call divergent, and would be in great danger if the powers that be were to discover this about her...

What should she do?

The choices she makes, the people in her life, the questions with which she wrestles, and the circumstances she lives ARE the story of the trilogy.

The lessons she learns and the person she becomes are worth thinking about.

I also believe these books fit the criteria outlined in Philippians 4 as far as the thoughts with which we are to fill our minds - although a certain level of maturity is necessary to read them. I've encouraged my thirteen and older to read the trilogy; my 11 year old has only been allowed to read the first book.

My favorite book of the series, however, was the second one, Insurgent, probably because it is in this book that I feel readers see the main character grow and change the most.

Here's my favorite quote ~

 (p. 409-410, Insurgentby Veronica Roth)

I love the truth of this quote. We are all unique and different, with different strengths and talents and abilities. But one thing we have in common is failure. Everyone fails. And everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and become someone new as a result of those failures... and when we recognize, confess and move on, allowing our failures to unite us and to spur us on to something better, something powerful happens. That is a large part of the story of this book... 

Have you read this series? If so, how did you feel about the trilogy? What most challenged or most disturbed you about these books?

If you've not yet read the series - do you think you will? What about your young adults? Will you encourage them to read? Why or why not?

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