Sunday, March 01, 2015


Insurgent, Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, 2012, 525 pp


I have read Divergent and seen the movie (twice!) My granddaughter loves this series. She is 13 and has not been harmed in any way by reading these books. In fact, we love to talk about them.

Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off. Tris is still just about the best heroine I have met in fiction anywhere. Intelligent, strong, daring though not fearless, loving though nobody's fool. In the second volume she is suffering a form of PTSD from losses and incidents she went through in Divergent but she does not succumb. She powers on.

Tris is 16 and in love with Tobias (aka Four) but that love gets severely tested. They do a lot of kissing and fondling and even sleep in the same bed sometimes though they do not have sex. What I like about Roth's characterization of Tris is her ability to think and perceive for herself and that she is in fact more able than her boyfriend in several ways. She does not fail to use her abilities to stand before him, speak the truth, and call him out when he is being stereotypical as a male or weak as a human.

I once read an essay by I think either Anne Lamott or Natalie Goldberg (two of my favorite writing gurus) where she took issue with books that take you by the throat and with non-stop action and plot keep you reading to find out what happens. This kind of writing frightened her and she was suspicious that it had no value. I could see her point but then again why shouldn't a book be purely entertaining and what is wrong with reading 525 pages in just a few hours?

Veronica Roth does this to me while she also gets me thinking about deeper things like loyalty, truth, the state of mankind and why mind control is not a way to end war or conquer mankind's darker impulses.

(Insurgent is available in paperback on the shelves at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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