A Talk with My Cousin about the Divergent Movie

I wrote a bunch about Divergent the week it came out, and then I found out that my thirteen-year-old cousin Abby is super into Divergent so I decided I should interview and get the scoop about what I was missing by only seeing the movie. Abby reads a lot and is awesome. Herewith, our chat:

JESSE: So when did you first read the Divergent books?

ABBY: Over the summer.

JESSE: How did you find out about them?

ABBY: I saw one of my friends had read it, and I saw stuff on the internet that said they were really good books.

JESSE: And I assume you’ve read all three by now?

ABBY: Yeah. It was quite the wait to get to read Allegiant though. That came out in October.

JESSE: Did you know then that a movie was coming out?

ABBY: I can’t quite remember…I don’t think I knew then but after I had read it I saw something online.

JESSE: And generally you were super happy with how the movie came out?

ABBY: Yeah, pretty much. Only a couple scenes I thought would have been really good to be put in the movie.

JESSE: You mentioned something about a butter knife scene. What was that about?

ABBY: The butter knife scene is when Peter gets mad that Edward is ahead of him in rankings, so in the dormitory at night he stabs Edward in the eye with a butter knife. Gory, but interesting! That’s what made most people hate Peter.

JESSE: Holy crap. That sounds hardcore. I forget, what is Peter’s main thing in the movie? He’s Miles Teller, right?

ABBY: Peter is one of the Dauntless initiates and isn’t the nicest. He calls Tris “stiff”. And yes he is Miles Teller, who is in The Spectacular Now with Shailene Woodley (Tris).

JESSE: Yes! Did you see that? I loved that movie.

ABBY: Yeah I saw that, it’s weird how they are all connected… Shailene Woodley is in divergent with Miles Teller and Angel Elegort, and then in The Fault in Our Stars with Ansel Elgort, then The Spectacular Now with Miles Teller!

JESSE: Yeah, especially weird because Ansel plays her boyfriend in Fault in Our Stars, right?

ABBY: Yeah!

JESSE: So if you read a book now, do you just assume that Shailene Woodley still star in the movie?

ABBY: Maybe… haha. She’s good because she can play a wide variety of characters. She can be someone dying with cancer, not known for anything, or be an in love daring brave person!

JESSE: I agree! She seems super talented. She was probably the element of the Divergent movie I liked the best. I think seeing The Spectacular Now kinda messed me up because I liked Miles Teller so much that I kind of wanted him to be in Divergent more. Like to me he’s the most charismatic dude in the movie and he’s barely in it!

ABBY: Yeah, I agree. He was in the book a lot more too. Since they are making an Insurgent movie, he has to be in it a lot more because in the book he’s really a main character. He saves Tris from getting killed!

JESSE: Oh, snap. That makes me more excited for Insurgent. I want to go back to how you described Tris as a daring, brave, and in love. Because I hadn’t read the book, I think I assumed that her Divergence would include all five factions. But it’s just dauntless, abnegation, and erudite. Candor and amity don’t get that much attention! Do you learn more about them in the book?

ABBY: Yeah, in the book it explains the factions quite well.

JESSE: Would you rather do the faction-testing stuff in Divergent or be sorted via a talking hat like in Harry Potter?

ABBY: Hmm…. I think both would be quite interesting…while I like Harry Potter and Divergent, I just can’t decide.

JESSE: Do you think any of the Divergent factions are the equivalent of Hufflepuff? Like, the one that no one really wants to be? (I apologize in advance if you consider yourself Hufflepuff.)

ABBY: Hmm.. well I like Ravenclaw, and I think that seems more Erudite but that’s just my opinion. And I think that Slytherin is like Dauntless because Malfoy can be daring but also not so daring… they are hard to compare! I feel like no one really wants to be Abnegation. As you can see both Caleb and Tris left that.

JESSE: Yeah, it seems like where you go if you want to keep a super low profile.

ABBY: Yeah, so low you can only have one mirror in the house!

JESSE: I wonder if people join Abnegation and then secretly party all the time because no one really checks up on abnegation.

ABBY: They might party… but according to them that’s sinful.

JESSE: Erudites are like “so what did you guys do today in abnegation” and abnegations are like “uhhhh we totally fed the poor and stuff, and we definitely didn’t look at mirrors” BUT REALLY THEY WERE PARTYING. I did like the way Tris was transfixed by mirrors, like a baby or a bird

ABBY: Yeah that was cool.

JESSE: So what faction do you think you’d choose?

ABBY: Probably Erudite. Because Caleb 😉

JESSE: Haha. Well you do seem pretty erudite! I want to go back to the butter knife thing for a moment. Edward gets stabbed in the eye. Does he stay in Dauntless after that or does he peace out?

ABBY: He becomes factionless.

JESSE: So he’s abnegation’s problem now

ABBY: Yup.

JESSE: I know he’s in the movie a little bit but I forget what happens to him. Is he just kind of in the background?

ABBY: Yeah he’s not mentioned much.

JESSE: And you said there were some other characters from the book that got cut, or weren’t in it?

ABBY: Uriah. He should have been in it.

JESSE: What does he do in the book?

ABBY: He’s one of their friends, he’s a really good character with a nice personality and he helps out. In the book there’s this one scene where he shoots a muffin off of I believe Molly’s head.

JESSE: NICE. So do they spend the same amount of time on training stuff in the book? The movie seemed like it had a LOT of Dauntless training.

ABBY: Yeah they have about as much. I think they needed the movie longer though because like half of it was the training! And Al wasn’t in it long enough in my opinion.

JESSE: He’s the one who kills himself?

ABBY: Yeah. In the movie he didn’t really fit his character in the book.

JESSE: How so?

ABBY: In the book he was a BIG baby. He would cry every night and Tris described it as that was what you could hear when she was trying to fall asleep. And he never stood up for himself. In the book you definitely got to know him better.

JESSE: That makes more sense… I didn’t entirely understand his deal in the movie. Were the actors generally the characters as you pictured them? Or were any of them way different than you expected?

ABBY: I honestly expected Al to be fat. And I thought that Peter, Will, and Al looked too much alike.

JESSE: I think so too! Sometimes it’s hard to tell YA-adaptation boys apart. Like Miles Teller is actually/technically less handsome than a lot of his costars but he’s also interesting looking so I remember him better.

ABBY: I pictured Tris with a bigger nose also. Yeah I didn’t exactly picture Peter as Miles Teller…I kinda pictured him as a Zac Efron!

JESSE: Teller’s buddy in That Awkward Moment! Which I do NOT recommend by the way.

ABBY: Noted.

JESSE: So has Divergent replaced Hunger Games in your heart or has your heart just swelled to accommodate both?

ABBY: I think Divergent is a better book… and The Hunger Games isn’t one of those movies I can rewatch without getting bored. The Perks of Being a Wallflower I can watch everyday and not get bored.

JESSE: How many times have you seen Perks?

ABBY: More than you can count on two hands! I’m currently reading the book.

JESSE: That was one of my next questions, what you’re reading now. Are you liking the book?

ABBY: I do like the book. But Charlie smokes in it, which he didn’t in the movie. And Kings is called Big Boy in the book… and Sam and Patrick smoke a lot.

JESSE: Gross.

ABBY: Yeah.

JESSE: Yeah, you know, they might have cut smoking out of the movie because I think you can get an R rating pretty easily for smoking

ABBY: Yeah if they went right with the book it could have easily been rated R.

JESSE: I actually just saw Noah last night and it has Logan Lerman AND Emma Watson, so that’s kind of weird.

ABBY: I was looking at that movie! Is it about Noah’s Ark?

JESSE: It is! I guess they deviate a bit from the Bible store but the Bible story is really short. I thought it was really interesting. It has some cool crazy stuff in it.

ABBY: I’ll have to see it. I’m seeing Divergent again later

JESSE: Is this your second time, or more?

ABBY: Second. I would have gone more but this thing called school gets in the way of everything. Gross.

JESSE: Well, that’s your lot in life as an Erudite. So is the wait for Insurgent going to be torture??

ABBY: Of course! Also The Fault in Our Stars! My two favorite books…

JESSE: What else is on that Favorite Books list?

ABBY: Looking For Alaska, Paper Towns, Divergent, TFiOS, Perks, Harry Potter and soon to be the Mortal Instruments series.

JESSE: Did you see the Mortal Instruments movie?

ABBY: Yes… I am ashamed to say that’s one of the many that saw it before reading the book…

JESSE: Sometimes I prefer seeing the movie first because I find that the movie is less likely to mess up the experience of reading the book. Whereas sometimes knowing the book can distract me during the movie

ABBY: I like knowing the book because then if someone dies you can prepare yourself while anyone else will be completely shocked! For example [Fault in Our Stars spoiler redacted].

JESSE: Haha, I might read that one before I see the movie. My wife won’t see it with me because she says it looks too sad!

ABBY: It’s a good kind of sad!

JESSE: Did you read Eleanor and Park?

ABBY: I started to earlier this year but I never finished it. I’ll have to get it out again. I’ve heard its good.

JESSE: I liked it a lot! I stayed up until like 3AM finishing it.

ABBY: After I finish Perks I will get it out!

JESSE: Also, side note: I could not understand the Mortal Instruments movie at ALL. It was like reading an encyclopedia entry.

ABBY: Haha! I didnt understand it much either! Another reason reading the book beforehand is better!

JESSE: The one thing I understood is that it costarred KEAMY from Lost!!!

ABBY: Yeah!

JESSE: I am automatically many times more interested in a movie if Keamy is in it which might be kind of a bad principle.

ABBY: He’s awesome. I love Lost.

JESSE: How long did it take you to watch all of it?

ABBY: A little less than a month.

JESSE: Wow! I was watching it when it was on so it was spread over like six years!

ABBY: Haha! I’m glad I didnt have to wait a week for a new episode.

JESSE: And does Divergent make your favorite-movies list?

ABBY: Yes!

JESSE: What else would make your top five or so? Perks, sounds like.

ABBY: Yes Perks, The Spectacular Now, Harry Potter, Mean Girls, Twilight.

JESSE: I can’t believe Mean Girls is ten years old! It came out ten years ago this April.

ABBY: Really?! Wow

JESSE: Yeah dude you were THREE when it came out!

ABBY: Whoa.

JESSE: Do you know what your first movie in a theater was?

ABBY: No I don’t.

JESSE: Hmm. Well, it probably would’ve been around 2005 or 2006 or 2007. So I’m going to guess it was The Departed.

ABBY: What’s The Departed?


ABBY: I guess so.

JESSE: It’s a gangster movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon.

ABBY: Oh! Must have influenced me quite a lot!

JESSE: It’s probably why you curse so much

ABBY: Always!

JESSE: So do you have anything you want to add about Divergent?

ABBY: I think that’s it! Except that Uriah is the one to mention what a pansycake is!!

JESSE: Wait, what is a pansycake?? Is that an insult or a dessert??

ABBY: It’s an insult.

JESSE: Do they use it in the movie?

ABBY: Nope.

JESSE: (My memory of the movie has already been compromised because I have seen Muppets Most Wanted twice since I watched Divergent.) [Ed. note: I realized later this was not actually true. I have seen Muppets Most Wanted twice, but only once since seeing Divergent. However, I have been thinking about Muppets Most Wanted constantly.]

ABBY: Oh my.

JESSE: So is a pansycake like a wuss?

ABBY: Yes.

JESSE: In the book do you learn insults from other factions, or just that one from Dauntless?

ABBY: Just that one.

JESSE: Have you and your friends adopted it in real life?

ABBY: One of my friends and I call people that in school to confuse them.

JESSE: So maybe you’re Dauntless after all.

ABBY: Maybe.. maybe not.

JESSE: Although I guess if you’re dauntless AND erudite that just makes you … dun dun dun…. DIVERGENT