Allegiant: A Review

THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Several months ago I read, and then recommended to anyone who would listen to me, a trilogy of books by Veronica Roth. The first two were titled Divergent and Insurgent. The third, unreleased until today, is called Allegiant.   I fell in love with the first two books. They were engaging and I couldn’t put them down. I read them for the first time in July and have since re-read them at least 3 times. I loved the premise and I was waiting on tenterhooks for the release of Allegiant.  The promise of the first two books left me with high hopes for the third.

I had Allegiant preordered for my Kindle so it automatically downloaded over night. I spent today reading it.  I finished around 5 pm.

I cannot contain my rage.

The story picks up shortly after the end of Insurgent, things are in flux, and the society has learned what they believe to be the true purpose of their existence.  Events move forward such that Tris and Tobias leave the city to discover what they can of life past the boundaries of their society and to determine if the Divergent really are the supposed saviors of mankind.

They discover that their society is nothing more than an elaborate and long-term scientific experiment meant to heal “genetically damaged” people by re-creating a “genetically pure” population – the Divergent – and thus repair the damage caused by the so-called Purity War.

Read the book; that’ll make more sense when you do.

Tris and Tobias also work through their problems to come back to the relationship they shared in Divergent. This was a relief to see as they were constantly getting in each other’s way, as far as the relationship was concerned.

And then, like some bad horror flick where the girl who gets down with the sexy times is ALWAYS the first one to die, Veronica Roth killed Tris.

As an aside, these books are written in first-person narration. That narrator is Tris. Basically, Roth killed the one character absolutely ESSENTIAL to telling the story. She gets around this by spending Allegiant flipping back and forth between Tris’ and Tobias’ points of view. Once Tris dies, she completes the story from Tobias’ perspective.

What enrages me most about this is that it was ABSOLUTELY UNNECESSARY from a storytelling standpoint. The book would have been just as powerful – possibly more so – had she made a different plot choice and sent Caleb, Tris’ brother, into the situation that killed Tris. She didn’t need to kill Tris to make her point. It’s clear that she only did it because it meant she could say that she was brave enough to go THERE with her writing.

But it’s not brave if it serves no purpose and I am absolutely convinced that this plot point served no purpose. It’s lazy writing. It was like reading someone’s first draft – that point when they’re trying to figure out exactly how they wanted the story to proceed. Had I been Roth’s editor, I would have sent her manuscript back with a scathing note telling her that killing Tris was shitty writing and to fix it.

Also, Roth just screwed herself out of millions. They’ve made Divergent into a movie and it’s coming out in March of 2014. I know that I was really looking forward to seeing it as were other friends who had read the books as well. Well, I ask you, who is going to want to spend money to see a movie in which they know that the main character is doomed to death by the end of the trilogy? Well done, Veronica. You’ve doomed your movie to immediate flop.

This book could have been so much more. It could have sent its message that we mend one another from the difficult times in our lives just as easily – and likely more powerfully so – had Tris lived. Realism is one thing but fiction is still escapism; it is still a place where we want a “happy” ending even if that ending is accompanied by collateral damage. Allegiant didn’t give us that. It gave us a lazy writer’s climax and a fumble fingered denouement that left me feeling angry and unsatisfied. Strangely, I keep hoping that this is some kind of cosmic joke – that they accidentally released a draft version instead of the real one – and it will all be fixed.

It won’t be. I know that. But I can’t think of a single other novel I’ve read in all my years of devouring books that left me so rage-filled by the last page. Sad? Yes. Wishing for more? Yes. Feeling the impact for days? Yes.

Rage at the author? Never.

Thanks, Veronica. You ruined a good thing.

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Tidbits

1. I have officially completed my Anatomy and Physiology course. I only got 2 wrong on the final and I got a 98% as the final grade. Solid A work. The week leading up to the final was a little hectic for me as I was trying to study and do a thousand other things at the same time, but I got the prep work done and passed so now I get to sit back and relax for a little bit.

In January, I will register for my first cluster of classes toward the medical coding certification. The first cluster of three classes is Healthcare Delivery Systems, Medical Terminology, and Computer Basics in Healthcare.

I suspect these will not be scintillating courses but that’s OK. At least it’s self-paced so I don’t have to sit through in-person lectures.

2. I don’t remember if I talked about this on the blog last year but Liam had some boredom issues at school in second grade, particularly in math. It was too easy for him and he was complaining about going to school because of it. I did speak with his second grade teacher and she said that Liam didn’t have the test scores to qualify for enrichment but that she could gather some extra materials for him to work on if he finished ahead of the class.

Then she didn’t do any of that.

So this year, I spoke to his third grade teacher about the issue. I stressed that I knew he didn’t have the necessary test scores but that he WAS bored in math last year and his biggest complaint was that math was too slow. I really, really like his teacher this year and her response to this was “Well, I don’t really go by test scores, I go by what I see in the classroom.”

Earlier this week, Liam came to me and said “Mom, they finally got the message about math being too slow. I go see Mrs. H once or twice a week for 30 minutes for extra math stuff. It’s just the right amount of challenging.” He seemed really happy about it and I’m happy for him. It is amazing the difference a caring teacher makes.

3. Ellie turned one yesterday. Because the kids wanted to celebrate, I took humiliating pictures of her, baked her doggie birthday cupcakes, and bought her a new bone to chew. So here is my poor dog dressed up for her birthday.

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Dejected, humiliated spaniel.

Dejected, humiliated spaniel.

Peanut butter frosting and a milk bone decoration.

Peanut butter frosting and a milk bone decoration.

 

The New Door

Today we finally replaced the front door of our house. I am giddy.  I’ve hated that door since the day we moved in 6.5 years ago and it’s finally GONE GONE GONE!

Let’s start with before pictures. You’ll have to forgive the ridiculous black and white filter I applied to the indoor photos but it was the only way to negate how dark they were. We begin indoors.

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Allow me to explain.

  • As you can see, this is a double door that opens like a french door. Only guess what? The left side was screwed shut and didn’t open. At all. Ever.
  • Because it’s a french door and only the right door opens, that meant it blocked access to the hallway and stairs any time it was open. It was an awkward configuration and a pain in the butt.
  • Notice those 4 tiny windows at the top. They’re maybe 3″ x 4″ and they let in exactly zero point squat natural light. Our hall light is on CONSTANTLY.
  • Look at the very top and bottom of the crack between the two doors – yeah, that shit was open to the elements. NO BUENO. But hey! More light!

Now, for the outside.

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Not too terrible, just dirty and needed repainting. HOWEVER. There is no storm door. There has never been a storm door. This is the only house I’ve ever lived in that didn’t have a storm door and I hate that.  It also meant that on warmer days I couldn’t open the front door for more light or fresh air. ARGH!

Today the installers showed up around 8:30 and got to work. They left around 2:45 pm and this is what they left behind them.

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Hello, puppy!

Hello, puppy!

Once again, allow me to explain. (I’m apparently in love with bullet points tonight.)

  • As you can see we decided to ditch the double door concept. It looked ok but was terrible in practice. Instead we opted for a single door with side lights to increase light in the hallway.
  • We changed how the door opens. Now it opens toward the powder room leaving free access to the hallway and stairs. It’s FANTASTIC.
  • WE HAVE A STORM DOOR. So we can open up that inner door any time we want for light and air (it came with a screen but it’s too cold for that right now).
  • The door is half window. Between this and the sidelights, the front hall is like a desert at high noon with all the light it gets. The area looks larger and so much less depressing.
  • The dogs are digging the side lights. As you can see.
  • Best of all, that sucker is so tightly put together, ain’t nothing going to leak through. If the storm door is closed, you have to push the inner door until you hear it click shut because the seal is that good.

It’s going to take some getting used to, though. Every time I catch a glimpse in the corner of my eye, I think someone has left the door standing wide open. I’m not used to seeing the yard from the hall!

Anniversary Adventures

Otherwise titled: QUACK!

As you may or may not know, there is a giant 40 ft inflatable rubber duck floating on the Pittsburgh rivers right now. It’s kind of a big deal because we’re the first American city to get one.  We decided to take the kids downtown today and do all things Duck.

We started at The Toonseum which is small but much fun. I mean, how can you hate on a museum with things like this?

Hulk smash

Hulk smash

We didn’t spend a ton of time there because it’s small and the kids got bored fast. But we did decorate some paper duckies and get some rubber duck souvenirs for the kids. (I got a button for my shirt.)

Then we headed down to Point State Park to view The Duck. I’ll just go ahead and post the pictures and save us all a lot of words.

Duck butt

Duck butt

How very Pittsburgh - Duck and Heinz sign

How very Pittsburgh – Duck and Heinz sign

The men of the house

The men of the house

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Now, the Duck is pretty darn impressive up close but photographing it is difficult because there are hordes of people there. Also, the kids had never ridden the incline so we took the opportunity to pop over to the Duquesne Incline so we could get a more panoramic view.

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Across the river

Across the river

My city is gorgeous

My city is gorgeous

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After the incline we headed home. We dropped the kids off with their grandparents so we could have a quiet dinner together. We gorged ourselves on delicious steak frites at Point Brugge (which has the best steak in the city if you ask me), had some drinks and came home to loaf around the house. It was a glorious day and a perfect anniversary.

Also, Scot got me this:

Bat-robe, with cowl.

Bat-robe, with cowl.

He gets me.

 

A Dozen Years of Marriage

On Sunday, Scot and I celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary. Each year I think back to our early days as a couple, to our wedding, to our childfree years and everything that came next and think “what more can I say that I haven’t already said?” Well, here’s what I can say.

We still laugh together. We still have inside jokes and silly things that makes us cry from laughing so hard. Things that the kids beg us to explain but we just can’t because they represent so much history between us.

We still challenge each other – whether that’s challenging each other in an argument or pushing the other to do something that’s good for them. We generally don’t let each other get away things we shouldn’t.

We still forgive the little things. They don’t matter and they matter even less with each year we are married. Shit happens and we get on with life.

We still love each other. Yes, *ahem,* that kind of love. But also the kind of deep love that gets you through rough waters; the kind that makes you feel that you can get through anything if you’re together.

We still agree on the things we want out of life, our goals as parents, and what really makes us happy. We still find happiness in the small moments together – just the two of us and with the boys.

In other words, our wedding vows still stand: for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, all the days of our lives.

I love you, Scot. Happy Anniversary.

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