I am a mother of two boys and avid reader; I practically live and breathe books. If I could sustain my life on just reading, I would live forever. I'm weird, and proud of it. I have traveled to many places: Mexico, St. Marteen, Prague, England, Cozumel, and Canada to name a few. Many moons ago I co-hosted "Welcome to Insanity" radio show on a micro radio station in TX- but our show was played via streaming internet in coffee houses in Amsterdam. I have a BA in theater. I used to be "the finder of lost things" but I think my last child robbed me of my gift. Now I just have a large collection of useless information... it goes with my growing mountain of "to be read" books
OK people... this is a rant regarding author John Green's Tweet to reactions readers are having toward the final Divergent book, Allegiant. In case you were unaware of this lovely quote, let me help you out:
And I couldn't not comment on that myself, as I was a huge fan of the Divergent series prior to Allegiant... and now LOATHE the series due to that book. Basically, for this reader/former fan, the final book obliterated the entire series for me. I can't re-read it because I don't fancy torturing myself. The movie has been ruined, the series has been ruined, and I'm going to be reluctant at best to even consider borrowing any future books by Veronica Roth from the library (let alone purchasing any more.)
First initial response to those Tweets (mini-rant):
I just hate it when author 'dictates' how we should be as readers. That doesn't fly. You put what you want to say, the story you want to tell, and then it's out of your hands. Some readers may like it, some not. Each reader, and each time you read- you are different (as a reader) and will absorb the story differently. There is no 'right or wrong' with reading.
Now, let's take a look at a specific quote here from Green:
"There are right and wrong reasons to like (or not like) a book."
I'm sorry- but NO. There is NO right or wrong with reading. No author, including him, is a reading Gestapo. I can dislike (or like) a book because it's set in Kansas, or because it has an atheist as a main character, or because it's set in the old west, or because it has an old boyfriend's name in it, or because I dislike the typeface. Reading is entirely subjective. The author puts everything they want into their work, their 'baby', and just like any good parent, you've done your best to 'raise' it well, and then must RELEASE it into the world. You cannot control it from that point, it's out of your (a parents, or an author's) hands. You have to hope that you did your best, and that your best will shine through because it's got a life of it's own now.
There was a naysayer that disagreed, saying Green was 'half-right'.
"I do not believe that there are right and wrong reasons to like and/or dislike a book, despite what my overall pretentiousness implies. But there is an objectively correct way to think about a book, namely that one can only judge a book based on what it is rather than what the reader wishes it would be. "
And I couldn't let that stand without another rebuttal:
I still don't agree with him, or the idea that he's even 'half-right'. We don't have a responsibility to think or feel anything, or not think or feel anything. I can see a professional reviewer, literary critic, agent, etc. being 'responsible' for judging the book on the book, not what fans 'expect'. BUT, fans are not wrong for wishing and wanting to see things, and getting upset if they don't. Without us readers, the authors are NOTHING. Without fans to read their books, it's just print on paper, bites of electronic info. Movies are made for people to watch, books are written for people to read, music is made for people to listen.
Regardless of what fans hope for, expect, want- if we get it, if we don't- it's not WRONG for us to be upset, especially when there are a large number of us upset for a myriad of reasons beyond just that one especially traumatic moment of the plot.
*(These are only 'what-if' examples of popular works and how I feel if their outcome had been changed, it would mimic how some of Veronica Roth's fans feel. I am not 'spoiling' anything from Allegiant)
If Harry Potter had gone through the entire series only to get hit by a drunk driver during the last summer with his Aunt and Uncle and became a vegetable stuck on life support- fans of that series would have been pissed. That certainly would not be an end 'expected' by the fans.
If the 'Dread Pirate Wesley' had come to rescue Buttercup only to find she had given up on him and already married the rotten Prince Humperdink and was pregnant with their first child- fans would be upset.
If you followed Neo down the 'rabbit hole' for 2 Matrix movies, then have him find out that it was all a dream in the 3rd movie, and he has to go back to his boring job - fans would have felt ripped off and betrayed.
Had the Orkin man (pest control) came at the end of Charlotte's Web and wiped out her nest with a spray of poison, fans would be pissed.
Books don't have to end happily, that's not what I'm saying, I'm just saying we fans have every right to like, or not like a book, movie, or whatever based on our expectations (or any other reason). Sometimes, it's those same expectations that will be WHY we love an author so much- because they 'always' deliver for us even if it's not in a way we expect. But it's not WRONG for us to like or not like anything just because it's not what we expected.
I still stand by my statement- there IS no right or wrong in reading. Day by day, as readers, we change. Perhaps you just lost a parent, and therefore a book with death will hit you differently that if you hadn't just experienced it. Perhaps a reader has never been in love, or just experienced a break-up, or just got married- and stories with romance may or may not 'work' for you. Books can be polarizing, and readers are passionate; don't dismiss as reader's thoughts and feelings because they don't align with your own, or the author's intentions. Every reader is going to have preconceived notions, thoughts, ideologies, beliefs, dislikes- and there is nothing WRONG about that.
Alrighty then... getting off my high horse now. Feel welcome to comment, agree, disagree, whatever. I know the spots on my TBR shelf that originally held The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska have now been freed up for authors that don't call readers 'Wrong' (oh, and I highly recommend checking out the Tweets- they actually get even worse....) I may be considered petty for removing those books due to Tweets from John Green, but hey, I can live with that.