Sunday, October 27, 2013

Allegiant Book Review (or Rant)

I LOVE to read.  Love it.  I have a lot of books, with real paper pages and downloaded on several electronic devices.  I was hooked with Veronica Roth's Divergent.  The characters and the storyline drew me in.  Insurgent kept me intrigued, especially the ending.  I have been looking forward to Allegiant for some time, pre-ordered it ages ago on Amazon and waited for it to arrive.  It did...I read for hours straight and then, it was over and I was left lost.

*ALERT:  SPOILERS, SWEETIES.  You may want to stop reading if you haven't completed (or started) your reading of Allegiant*

In comparison to the first two novels, Allegiant lacked the intensity for me.  It seemed so calm and without the passion of the first two.  Yes, Tris and Tobias are together and have their passionate moments - some memorable quotes and scenes come out of this, for sure.  But, as far as the rest of the story, it just wasn't there.  We learn what "Divergent" truly means and how the city (Chicago) came to be and what it really represents.  We learn who Tris' mom really was to some extent (there could have been so much more, in my opinion).  We discover that the serums were originally developed by people outside the city, people who created the faction world and watch it carefully through surveillance.  We meet David and somewhat gather his place in all of this.  To be honest, I felt as though all of these pieces were rushed and so much more could have been said or done.

So, let's get to the big elephant in the room: Tris dies.

Now, I'll admit, I am one for a happy ending but my anger at this is not that she dies but that it wasn't essential to the story.  It did not move the plot along or encourage big events.  I feel that the amazing character built around Tris was betrayed.  She fought off the death serum but allows her mother to pull her away to death?  This brave girl fought for so much, made mistakes surely, but fought for everyone then doesn't fight to live one more time?  Nope, sorry, don't buy it.  It feels as though Roth simply wanted not to have a happy ending.  For me, having the protagonist live is not a happy ending in itself.  Often, the "hero" is left with scars beyond comprehension - Tris lost her mother and father, suffered a great deal, her living would not have changed these things.  She lost friends, killed one as a matter of fact, dealt with so many choices beyond her years.  Her strength was indescribable through the first two novels (and, yes, she made mistakes and rash decisions -that's why it was believable) and then, in the last frame, her strength is gone?  She folds to be with her mother?  Sorry, that's not my Tris.

Since this book is a YA novel, I feel it needs saying.  Teenagers are reminded everyday that the world is not perfect nor is it full of happy endings.  The blessing of literature is that it provides an opportunity to shine upon the strengths of our characters, a way to imagine what could happen should we be faced with overwhelming odds.  Tris would never have come through these novels whole; she lost too much.  But, to not have her come through at all, that's too far in the other direction. 

By the way, I understand I didn't write this book nor do I hold some claim to be an amazing writer.  These are my thoughts and opinions.  Obviously, Roth is talented or I wouldn't have waited so long to get my hands on this last installment.  Sadly, though, I do not think that I can re-read the first two novels ever again, knowing what I know now.  That for me, is the measure of a great book, one that I can read over and over and never be disappointed.  And, Divergent and Insurgent were books on that list for me...

Monday, February 11, 2013


I lost my dad 6 weeks ago.  He was here on Earth and gone so quickly.  My heart is broken; broken in a way that will never heal.  There is no length of time that can mend this, though I know that it has gotten easier to realize as the weeks have passed.

My dad was my rock.  He was the person who made everything make sense.  He was my supporter through everything I chose to do.  He gave me strength and confidence.  He loved me always and told me so.

There is so much about the situation that I have needed to talk through.  Moments and memories that are both hauntingly beautiful and sad.  Like the moment that I leaned down to kiss my dad in that hospital bed and say "I love you" to which he responded, "You don't have to say that."  I could have cried and told him that I knew I didn't have to, I wanted to - his words:  "I know you do. You don't have to say it."  Cue the tears.  The pride that hit me when he apologized for being sick and feeling like he let me down-yes, pride; my father loved his family so much that he was hurting for us instead of himself.  Or the moment when he looked me in the eyes and asked "Why?" - I couldn't answer why this happened to him, I could only kiss him and tell him that I didn't know but that I wished I could fix it.  Finally, the moment when he knew his life was ending and he was crying, unable to speak and all I could say was "It's okay, Daddy.  It's okay.  I love you."

Two and a half months after his diagnosis of Lymphoma, we lost him.  I am blessed to have been able to go to our hometown and see him before he was gone.  But, I am angry at myself for not getting to see him more.  I am angry at myself for wanting so badly to move away from home and start a life, knowing it would be years before we could settle in a place of our choosing.  Angry that he was proud of me for it, proud that I built a life with my husband and pursued our dreams.  I am struggling with the guilt that I should have been better, tried harder, done more.  I am wrestling resentment that my husband's career is what pulled us away; I know it's not his fault but grief is a difficult thing, there's too much to process, too many what-ifs.

To top it all off, in the middle of my father's last weeks on this Earth, we find out we're PCSing.  To a place that is incredibly far from home and nowhere I ever wanted to live.  I am trying to find the positives in this duty station and hold fast in my belief that my life happens for a reason.  But, I am crumbling under the weight of it all.  Thankfully, I have great friends that have given me an ear (and shoulder) as I wade through this.  I can continue to make my dad proud, I know it, I have never quit before and don't plan to start.

*If you have read all of this, thank you.  It is my heart right now in print, it doesn't get more real than that.