Divergent – Book to movie

In January, I went out for dinner for a friend’s birthday. We went to a Chinese restaurant and the first thing I saw when I walked in was the book “Divergent”. I mentioned I wanted to read it, then pretty much forgot about it as we sat down and proceeded to birthday it up. It was only later, when I was leaving, that I saw the book still on the table. I asked the owner about it, and he said it had been there for about a week. Then, he said these magic words: “You can have it, if you like.”

I read the book and saw the movie, then reviewed both. I wrote about the book as I was reading it, so it’s not really a review, but my thoughts on the story. I’m not revealing more than what you can see in the trailers for the movie, but if you really, really, don’t want to know anything about the story before you read the book or see the movie, maybe you should skip this post!

Book

Page 17

Wow, This book is going to be good, I can feel it. It’s kind of like The Hunger Games, but it’s not. There’s a girl, and she has to make a choice, but somehow I have a feeling that’s where the similarities will end. They mention the Sears tower, so the story takes place in what used to be Chicago. There are five factions. When you’re 16, you take a test to determine which faction you should chose.

Page 48

Holy crap, things move fast in this book. The girl’s name is Beatrice. I don’t know how I feel about that.  The test does not work on Beatrice. She is divergent. She choses a different faction than the one she grew up in. She’s pretty brave, I probably wouldn’t have done that, especially after her brother did what he did.

Page 60

Beatrice changed her name to Tris. I knew that name was wrong.

Page 209

I’ve been reading for most of the afternoon, but who needs a clean house anyways? Being divergent is dangerous. Of the five factions, Beatrice shows aptitude for three. There is Abnegation, which is selflessness (where she grew up), Erudite, which is the pursuit of knowledge, and Dauntless, which is bravery. She chose Dauntless. I probably would have been Amity, which seems to be hedonism. There’s also Candor, who only speak the truth (like the citar in Moulin Rouge!)

She’s going through initiation. If she fails, she’ll be factionless. There’s a lot of fighting and blood and people being mean.

Page 345

My neck hurts. Also, it’s 12am and I work tomorrow. It’s not easy kicking butt and being awesome. (We’re talking about Tris now, not me.) Why do people always pick on the smart, strong heroine? Oh, yes. Jealousy.

Page 462

I wonder, if this were real, if I would be content to be Amity, like I first thought. They’re not mentioned much in the book. As much as I want to be happy, I don’t want to be bored, either. I don’t think a system like this would work for very long, which is probably why it’s cracking in the book. Tris is Divergent, therefore she’s considered dangerous, a rebel. She threatens the system because she doesn’t fit into a mold. Sounds like high school, or society in general, don’t you think?

Page 487

What? No, it can’t be done yet! What happens next? Although I knew it would end without an ending, I thought I had a few more pages left. Argh! Store is closed, must wait until tomorrow.

divergent_hq

Movie

I saw the movie a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed it, and it was pretty true to the book. Obviously, there were some parts of the book that didn’t make it into the movie, but that always happens. I kept comparing it to The Hunger Games, because some of the basics of the story are the same. I liked the Hunger Games more than Divergent, but it was still a good movie.

I liked the choice of Shailene Woodley as Tris. In the book, it’s mentioned several times how small she is and how young she looks. Ashley Judd was as wonderful as ever as Tris’ mom. However, I had a bit of an issue with Tony Goldwyn as her dad. He’s the president of the United States! He’s not some Abnegation, selfless man who’s against fighting! (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you need to watch Scandal!)

divergent-poster-full

After I read the first book, I ran out and bought the other two in the series. They were ok, but nowhere near as good as the first book. I enjoyed the first half of Allegiant, the last book. There are some questions that have been brought up in the previous books that are finally answered. However, after that, I felt like the book dragged on a little. I still recommend that you read Divergent if you enjoy teen-lit series where the girl kicks butt.

 

Moloka’i

When I went to Costa Rica, I brought three books. I was gone for a week, so the original plan was to bring 4. However, apart from reading on the plane and while waiting around in airports, I didn’t read that much when I was there. It was hot, there was lots of sand, and there was too much to do!

Before I left, I took a trip with a friend to the bookstore to stock up. I ended up going on a teen-lit kick, buying  Anna dressed in Blood, Alice in Zombieland and Vampire Academy. While other people at the yoga retreat were reading books about finding inner peace, I had books about a ghost, zombies and vampires.

I did buy another book as well. When I picked it up and decided to buy it, my friend said “Really? Lepers?” What can I say, I was intrigued.

The book was Moloka’i, by Alan Brennert. I didn’t end up reading it while I was in Costa Rica. I started it yesterday and finished it this morning. Yes, it’s one of those books. You, know, the kind that draws you in, shutting out the rest of the world. It broke my heart, it made me smile and I now need to go to Hawaii.

It tells the story of Rachel, a young girl living in Honolulu in 1891. She’s 5 years old and she loves to ask questions, which drives most of the adults in her life quite crazy! One day, her uncle Pono is arrested on suspicion of being a leper. He is sent to Kalihi, a hospital, where he is kept in quarantine. Just as the family is starting to get over the shock and shame of having a relative with leprosy, Rachel’s mother finds a pink blemish on the little girl’s thigh.

Her mother tries everything she can to cure her daughter, while keeping it a secret. Hawaiians, at that time in history, were quickly dying of diseases brought over by haoles, white people. Having never been in contact with these germs, they had no immunity against them. Not much was know about leprosy, except that it was contagious.

Rachel is eventually found out, and sent to Kalihi, where she reunites with her uncle Pono. Small, afraid, and separated from her family, Rachel is poked and prodded by doctors for a year before they decide they cannot help her and she must be sent away to a leper colony on Moloka’i. She is ripped from the only life she has ever know and sent to an island where she expects to die.

When she arrives, however, she discovers a world apart from anything she has ever known. Her life is not always easy, but it is a life worth living. She watches friends die and her body being taken over by the bug. She loves, she grieves, but most importantly, she lives.

This book was so well written. It informative without being boring. I have long been fascinated by leprosy, and learning about it through the story of people’s lives was much more interesting than reading a textbook. The beginning of the story was intriguing, the middle captivating and the ending satisfying. If you’re looking for your next book to read, here it is.

molokai

I buy books like some women buy shoes

When I started my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, number 77 was to write down all the books I read. I’ve always wondered how many books a year I read. In 2012, I read 52 books. That’s an average of one a week, but it doesn’t really work that way. Usually, if a book is good, I’ll finish it in about 2 days. If I’m not really into it, but I’m determined to get through it, it might take 2 weeks.

The 52 books on the list are from number 16 to number 68. Here is my top ten. They’re not in order of preference, but in the order in which I read them.

1. Knit one, Pearl one, by Gil McNeil

This is the third book in a series. The first book was originally called “Divas don’t knit”, but the title was later changed to “The beach street knitting society and yarn club.” Yeah, makes no sense. Anyways, the books follow Jo, a single mother in England who leaves behind her glamorous job to live by the sea and open a yarn shop. The story is about everyday things that happen to regular people, but the writting is terrific. I’ve read each of the books several times.

Knit One Purl One by Gil McNeil1

2. Girls in white dresses, Jennifer Close

This is one of those books that has several stories going on, and you kind of wonder where the story is going. It doesn’t take long to get involved with the girls and their stories. I felt like I was reading about my own life when reading parts of this book (not all of it!). I couldn’t put it down.

10047589

3. The lost girls, J. Baggett, H. Corbett and A. Pressner

I normally read fiction, but this book is the true story of three friends who quit their jobs and take a trip around the world. You can tell it’s real life, because not everything works out the way they plan it. Sometimes they fight, and they even rip the top off their rented van! If you like to travel, you’ll enjoy this book for sure.

Lost-Girls-Cover-1-196x300

4. Wildflower Hill, Kimberley Freeman

I love, love, love this book. I bought it because it was pretty, but I fell in love with the stories. It’s about a ballet dancer who suddenly can’t dance anymore and who moves to the house her late grandmother left her. The book alternates between the granddaughter’s and the grandmother’s stories. Sometimes, with books like these, I get so caught up in one story, I don’t want to switch to the other one. However, both stories in the book are so captivating, I couldn’t wait to read them.

10002296

5. The dowry bride, Shobhan Bantwal

I’ve read all the books by this Indian-American author and I can’t get enough. My favourites are the ones that take place in India, like The dowry bride. A young bride wakes up one night and hears her husband and mother-in-law planning to perform a bride-burning because her parents failed to pay her dowry. She runs away and hides out in the home of a man who is related to her husband, but who is kind and understanding. Her husband tries to find her and have her arrested for leaving him. It’s a glimpse of a culture so different from mine.

The_Dowry_Bride-300ppi

6. The Hunger Games (trilogy), Suzanne Collins

I remember hearing about The Hunger Games, but I had no idea what it was about and I wasn’t really interested in finding out. Then I saw a preview for the movie. I was hooked. I had to know more. I prefer (like most people) to read the book before watching the movie, so I bought the first one, thinking I would buy the other ones after I saw the movie. Yeah, not so much. I stayed up all night reading that first book, then got up as soon as the bookstore opened to go get the other two. If you haven’t read these yet, if you think they’re just for kids or if the idea of teenagers at war against each other in a fight for survival bugs you, get over it and read! You won’t regret it.

hunger_games_trilogy

7. The Dovekeepers, Alice Hoffman

By far, my favourite book of the year. Maybe my favourite book of the past ten years.

The Dovekeepers is set in the year 70 C.E. It tells the story of four extraordinary women in Jerusalem who do what they must to survive in this harsh world of war, for the Romans are determined to overpower the Jews. The desert and King Herod’s palace are the main settings for this incredible story. Four women, Yael, Revka, Aziza and Shirah, all come to live on the mountain for different reasons and form a sisterhood of sorts while working in the dovecotes. They all have secrets which could threaten their very existence. It is based on the true story of 900 Jews holding out for months against the Romans on a Judean mountain. Two women and five children survived and this is what the author imagined their story to be.

It is written so beautifully that, although it takes place in a time in history where savage customs reigned and women were not the equals of men, it is impossible not to be captivated by the incredible will these women had to survive and create a better world for their children. It doesn’t feel like a history lesson, it doesn’t leave you sad. It is a book you cannot put down and want to share with everyone you know. You want them to feel that extraordinary sensation of having discovered a wonderful secret, a mystery unraveled. I have not been touched by a book like this in a very, very long time.

10950924

8. On the Island, Tracey Garvis-Graves

I bought this book one day because I wanted to buy one, and I couldn’t find anything. I picked it up and thought “This’ll do.” It’s the story of Anna, who is 30 and T.J., who is 16. They get stranded on a desert island. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it, because I thought it might be weird, depending on how the author approached the relationship between them. Turns out, it’s a wonderful story of love and survival. I could not stop reading it!

15506110

9. The Help, Kathryn Stockett

My friend lent me this book and I put it on a shelf, not particularly interested in it. One day, I had nothing to read so I picked it up. Am I ever glad I did! I enjoyed the way the story was told from many different points of view. So many strong women had things to say in Jacksonville in the sixties, but some of them could not, because they were black. Enter Skeeter, a white journalist who opens everyone’s minds and hearts. The movie is also good, but the book is better!

200px-Thehelpbookcover

10. Room, Emma Donoghue

I wasn’t sure about this book. The narrator is a five year old boy named Jack and Room is his home. He lives with his mother and sometimes, at night, after Ma hides him in the wardrobe, Old Nick comes to see her. His mother was kidnapped by Old Nick 7 years ago and Jack was born inside Room. He’s never been Outside. He doesn’t know Outside is real, or that people actually go to the store or wear shoes, because he’s never done these things. He is living a nightmare, but he doesn’t know it. It’s worth a read, but it takes a while to absorb it all.

room-by-emma-donoghue

What were your favourite reads of 2012?