I’m not a fan of people loaning me books. I know that’s a little crazy, but I prefer to buy them so I can read at my own pace. I like keeping them on my shelf after I’ve finished reading, and if there’s a book I don’t want on my shelf, I move it to my classroom shelf or exchange it for XBOX games at Bookman’s.
Now, I can’t have you thinking I’m a snob, so let me explain. When I loan a book to someone, I’m sharing something precious. Something I want back in good shape (don’t dogear my pages, please). Something I want them to enjoy as much as I enjoyed.
That’s a lot of pressure.
I’ve gotten better over the years, but until I’ve built a book-loaning rapport with a friend, I imagine all of the horrible ways they’re going to abuse my generosity; I see the prized cover art with ketchup dripping on it – to be stained into the page as a careless hand tries to wipe away the truth that it didn’t respect the loan.
Part of the reason I don’t want to borrow books is because I want to respect the loan without disrupting my life. I want to get it back in a timely fashion, which can’t always happen without giving up other parts of life. I want to tell the lender that it was the best book I’ve ever read, when the truth usually isn’t that.
It’s just easier to buy the book myself.
That being my philosophy on borrowing, I wasn’t all that jazzed when a fellow teacher told me that I had to read DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. She described the book as similar to HUNGER GAMES. It’s a post-apocalyptic dystopia set in futuristic America. She described the world as being divided into four factions: erudite, candor, dauntless and abnegation. At the age of 16, each person in Veronica Roth’s world has to decide which of those four factions he/she will belong to, and then undergo serious training to become a full-fledged member of the chosen faction. However, choosing a faction isn’t easy; our narrator, Tris, has to decide whether she should remain true to herself or her family. Leaving her family behind in Abnegation may mean that she’ll never talk to them again. The story is told in 1st person present tense (see how it’s like HUNGER GAMES), and is a relatively easy read. The pace is a little slower than HUNGER GAMES, but certainly doesn’t drag.
Sounds like an excellent book that I’d totally be into, right?
Still, I was hesitant to take it in hand when the teacher walked into my classroom and told me to borrow it.
Can’t I just buy it?
Of course not.
So… wanting to respect my lender, I got to reading it right away.
It took me a little over a week, but I’ve finished, and definitely went out and bought my own copy (mostly to loan to others). It’s good enough for that. I even bought the hardcover
I cried a lot in the last hundred pages, which was awesome. Belive it or not, I love crying when I read. I love hiding away from the world, and melting into a puddle of, “That’s so saaad.” *Sniff.
My only complaint about the book was a moment when I understood something that Tris did not. Brigid Kemmerer once wrote on her blog that “No one wants to spend 400 pages with an idiot,” which is exactly how I felt about Tris for awhile. The rest of the story was so good, though, that I was willing to overlook Tris’s foolishness. The world is exciting, new and thought-provoking. It causes you to wonder whether you’d choose to be in dauntless, abnegation, erudite or candor. It reminds you of the Hogwarts houses more than a little, but I’d definitely go with Dauntless and Hufflepuff, which doesn’t make any sense at all.
Hurrah! So, you should give DIVERGENT a try. It’s part of a series, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens to Tris.