Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book review: Insurgent 4.5 stars

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

 The world as Tris knows it has changed and now those who are left are scrambling to survive. Tris/Beatrice and Four/Tobias are traveling together with some other survivors to try and stop Erudite from taking over the world as they know it. What they can't know is that there is a far bigger issue on the horizon.

I have to give Veronica Roth props for showing the effects significant trauma can have on a character. Tris struggles throughout the entire book to come to terms with events that happened at the end of Divergent. And she is expected to help lead a rebellion against those trying to take power while dealing with her own version of PTSD. It can be likened to those who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan who are facing horror everyday, but still expected to fulfill their duties and operate as normally as possible. The feelings and emotions Tris felt in this book are not that far off from actual trauma reactions and if for no other reason I think people need to read this book.

Going to avoid getting spoilery because I don't want to give anything away, but I did want to mention what I found the funniest part of the entire book. During their visit to Amity, Tris gets into an altercation with Peter (no one should be surprised by this) and is given a drug the Amity use to keep their people "happy." Tobias was rightly pissed off when Tris got high as a kite and when the drug finally wore of he had the best line in the entire book. Can't wait for the conclusion later this year!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Book review: Divergent 5 stars

Review of the second book (Insurgent) coming soon ;-)

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

5 stars for Divergent, the first Veronica Roth book I've read. I'd heard good stuff about this book from my fellow Twitter book worms and I LOVED the cover art so when I was flying out this weekend I grabbed it for the plane.

Inevitably it seems all other YA Dystopian books are compared to The Hunger Games. I've read both and the only comparison I will make is the ending of The Hunger Games made me almost physically ill and I generally do not enjoy the feeling of bile rumbling in my stomach at the end of a book. While Divergent is Dystopian it never made me feel physically ill and I just bought the second book whereas I won't touch the rest of The Hunger Games trilogy. Take that as you will ;-)

I don't want to get too spoilery so I'll try not to really get into detail on the characters. I will say that Beatrice/Tris really seems the exemplify the inner struggles most 16 year old girls go through in trying to decide what they really want out of life. Granted, most 16 year olds these days aren't going to have to make the same decisions Tris did, but she shows many characteristics of teens in today's world.

Other characters that made good impacts on me: Four (really loved him), Tori, Tris' mom (whose name I don't think was ever mentioned), & Will. I never really connected with Christina or Caleb for some reason. They were just kind of...THERE in the story for me. There are some characters who are very easy to dislike and others who are more complex. The characters were quite diverse and overall I enjoyed reading them.

One last thing...you may never feel comfortable looking at a butter knife again.

Can't wait to read the next book ;-)

(This section comes from my recent second reading of Divergent.)  When I first read this book I was in quite a bit of physical pain from a nerve injury and interestingly enough it influenced the first reading. Everything I put into my first review still holds true, but I would like to add that both Tris and Four seemed older than their ages of 16 and 18 (respectively) in the book. In fact I would go so far as to say both displayed a level of maturity that would put them in their early 20's. Tris did strike me as a 16 year old when it came to interpreting relationships and I loved the slow and tentative way Tris and Four became more than just student and instructor.

Also, there have been criticisms that because of events that happened at the end of the book Tris didn't have appropriate emotional reactions. In light of those events I would posit to say that Tris acted just as any person would with the same type of training in a combat situation. You act first and react later. And that usually leads to PTSD symptoms and guilt (it's a natural progression into the 2nd book.) Getting reading to dive back into Insurgent after I go back over some of my fave Tris/Four moments.          

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In the Fog

So....I've been having real issues with seasonal depression since about February.  Why February?  Because normally February is the time when Winter starts to sulk away and Spring begins to poke her head around this corner.  But this year Winter has been throwing herself a merry little party & Spring got held up at the gate.  And it has been withering me.  Didn't help that Donald had his tonsils removed in February (talk about a sensory overload for an introvert already fighting off SAD) and that Winter's continued to throw herself a party all through March.  March!  We're supposed to have blue skies, flowers, and birds out by now!  

I'm an INFJ (it's a Myers Briggs personality preference if that seems like another language) and so I pick up on little things that end up making patterns (to me anyway) and eventually explain themselves.  There's been this one website hanging around in my Tabs that for some reason I've not gotten rid of.  The site is called Out of the Fog and is a help aid to those of us who have people with personality disorders in our lives.  For some reason I hadn't let that website go...and then I figured out it was because I WASN'T out of the fog...I was most definitely in its midst.  

Another clue to the depth of the depression I'm currently in was an article I read about a psychologist who served in Iraq who just couldn't escape his own depression and PTSD.  That man was a help to so many and ended up killing himself because he just couldn't get away from the misery.  You can read about this hero here, but what clued me in is that he had many of the same characteristics I have when I'm depressed.  And it hit me that if this Winter continues on much longer, I'd find a way to end it myself.  Which really sucks because I have three kiddos that I love more than my own life so....yeah.  It presents a problem.

So here's my coping strategies:  1 - take the time I need to just be here and not beat myself up over what I'm not getting done.  2 - Read.  When I get really low reading saves my sanity.  3 - Don't worry about my creative writing right now.  The ideas will be here when I'm more able to focus on them and not just getting through day to day.  4 - Spend time with the fam, but don't be afraid to get the introvert time I need.  They'll get plenty of happy me the rest of the year and I need lots of alone time right now.  5 - Embrace the funny.  Laughter is a wonderful balm to almost anything so if I can find it, I'm going to enjoy it.

Speaking of laughter, here's a hilarious piece of a Middle Earth fan playing Gollum as a counselor ;-)  http://www.themarysue.com/gollum-somebody-that-i-used-to-know/