UPDATE: Attention December book club attendees! Copies of Divergent are now available at the Main Library’s Circulation Desk for you to pick up. Just ask at the desk for the Shelf Respect Book Club title, and they’ll get you a copy. We have 8 just for book club purposes.
"He told me he was born in a prison and that he’d been held back in school. Twice. He didn’t belong in junior high anymore. It made him feel like a loser. But he wanted me to know that he wrote stories sometimes. About San Antonio gangs.
"… This Mexican kid, who was a thug, who was not pretty and felt like he was too big for his grade, too old — he had all these feelings he didn’t know what to do with. So he wrote them into stories."
- Author Matt de la Pena on finding readers and writers in unexpected places. Read the rest of his essay here.
I wrote a little thing over at Book Riot about this topic because it interests me to no end. Why do some readers insist on genre conventions? Why do some get so angry when tough choices are made in the story? And why do authors sometimes do things to their stories and characters that are awful?
This reminds of how, sometimes in discussions at my various book groups, people will start critiquing a book by telling us how they wish it had been written, or a side character within the story they wished the story had been about. I then tend to come back to the idea that yes, those are interesting aspects to consider, but ultimately they’re not the book the author wrote. You have to critique, and enjoy or not enjoy, a book by what it is, not by what you wish it is.
Not that I necessarily think Allegiant readers are thinking that way, but it’s one of the many questions raised when you talk about why you liked (or didn’t like) a book.