Thursday, October 24, 2013

John Green on 'Allegiant' Controversy

As a follower of John Green on Twitter, as most everyone is seeing as he has over one million dedicated followers, I tend to follow him pretty closely. This morning, he came out to speak a few words on the negative response that Allegiant, which released Tuesday, has received by readers thusfar. And I couldn't agree with him more. I've even told my friends this same thing, but John has a voice so hear him out.












Nailed it, John.

14 comments:

  1. For the most part, I do agree with his comments, but I'm not a fan of this: "I think many of the book's readers are just, like, wrong about what books are/should do."

    Readers ARE going to come to books with their own expectations. Some want HEAs, some want death and destruction and heartbreak, and some don't care at all. There's nothing wrong with that, and, even is there was, what's John Green's suggestion? It's not like there's a button I can press in my head to make my expectations for something disappear. They're organic and part of the process.

    For example, with a series like Bridget Jones' Diary, someone who missed the spoilers for the third book is going to go into it with a set of expectations based on the two books they've already read. They expect it to be funny, quirky, and full of Darcy. But that's not what they're getting. Does it make the book terrible from an objective perspective? Perhaps not. Does that mean readers are wrong to read it and feel betrayed? No. That was their experience and how they felt, and the author doesn't have the right to discount their emotional response.

    This variety of opinion, I think, is why book blogging is so fascinating. We share our responses, both critical and emotional, and create a portrait of the different reactions. All readers, especially those who don't blog or profess or work as professional reviewers, read more for emotion, and John Green's discounting all of that it seems.

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  2. I agree with you for the most part too. But from knowing and seeing John Green in person, I know his meaning isn't to put down readers but to say that basically there is no need for readers to spread hate if they didn't like it. You can dislike a book and tell someone you disliked it but the response from a significant portion of those readers who didn't like it have been flat out spreading "HATE! WORST BOOK EVER. VERONICA IS STUPID." stuff. That it what he's referencing.

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  3. So, it's wrong for fans who followed a story across three books to feel that the final book is a failure but it's okay to assume all of the criticism is actually just fan entitlement and to assume a story you haven't read shouldn't be criticized for falling apart in the final third?

    But we've already established that John Green thinks fans should be "good readers" by having no real opinions so this is hardly surprising.

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  4. I would never think it's wrong for fans to think that. I am one of those fans that followed the story even before the first book was published. Did I think it was a failure? No, I actually loved it. But not liking a book doesn't give anyone the right to verbally attack the author. If I need to quote Amazon reviews, I will get some.

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  5. I agree with John Green, honestly. I've felt this way about some book fandoms for a while. I haven't read Allegiant yet, and I don't plan to for a while. With that said, I did look up spoilers because curiosity got the better of me. My response? Good for Veronica. Kudos to her for doing something that so many authors are terrified to do. It's annoying to get a happy ending all the time, and it's nice that a big series like this took the road less traveled.

    In regards to the "fan entitlement," the response to Allegiant is going the same way the response to Mockingjay did. It's cool to have your opinion, but it's not cool to call a book a failure just because most of the fans didn't like it. I have heard plenty of fans gush about how much they loved it. Are you going to tell them that they're wrong for liking it? No. Because I doubt you want people harassing you about how you're wrong for hating it.

    A lot of fans expected Collins/Roth to write it differently so they're fans would be happy. That's not how writing works. I don't want authors to re-write THEIR creations just to please the fans; that's not what I want to read. I want to read the stories that authors intended to write, whether that be the ending I want or not. I absolutely despised Breaking Dawn, but I didn't go around threatening to hurt Stephenie Meyer and calling her book a failure, did I? No. Because if that's the book she originally set out to write, then all the power to her.

    Basically, I'm ashamed in the "fans" who are going around calling her names and sending her physical threats. That's just embarrassing and immature. What are we, 5-years old?

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  6. Every bit of this! Yes.

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  7. It's always cool to think you're a smarter reader than everybody else. The truth is it's just your opinion. Books and movies are not always meant to appeal, and it's perfectly right. What is wrong is if they're poorly written/designed.
    Don't get used to blame other readers

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  8. I've not read any of his work but John Green seems like a pretty smart guy, books aren't there to make you happy. I'm reading Allegiant at the moment but accidentally read the major spoiler and my initial reaction was good on Veronica Roth for being different.

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  9. Why I disagree with John Green. I still admire him and Veronica Roth too!
    When certain conventions in story telling, writing, film making, etc are ignored or misleading, a reader is entitled to his or her opinion. People who read more than one of an author's books develop expectations about the books written by that person. When an individual reads a book series like a trilogy, they continue reading after the first or second book because they want to find out what happens in the next book. They, informally, have a vested interest in the outcome. Veronica Roth threw her fans a curve ball when she killed off 3 characters and revealed the thruth about another character in her third book of the series, Allegiant. For me, it felt hurried and out of character, in other words, for her to do this when she did it. It doesn't make me dislike Veronica Roth. It makes me reluctant to invest in her or trust her as a story teller in her future books. If I buy and read another of her books in the future, I think I will always be waiting with dread for something to go wrong. I hope she surprises me.

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  10. I understand as a person who invested in the series myself. But both the author and the editors at Harper even say that the plot of Allegiant (including characters dying and even the ending itself) were planned from the beginning. Despite different expectations from her readers, she never once considered changing the ending to please the fans. She knew how it needed to end and followed through. For that, I commend her!

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  11. I am not saying the ending was or wasn't planned. I am saying the writer and editor did not leave enough breadcrumbs! I've read Divergent and Insurgent more than once and there are not enough subtle hints, clues, etc. for a lot of readers to make Allegiant's conclusion acceptable. When one of a book's main characters is to be killed off, there are often times more cues before it happens. The book was built around Tris & Tobias. It is like killing off Bella in Twilight, Harry in Harry Potter, etc., although both of those books were actually full of clues that this might be a possibility. As a side note, when the movie was made of the last book in the Twilight series, the ending was changed and deemed a success. Some fans are crying out for the ending of Allegiant to be changed like Twilight was. If this happens, it will be difficult to think that the ending of the Allegiant book was planned from the beginning. It will look like a publicity stunt to get more people to see the movie with a changed ending. As much as I don't care for the ending, I don't want to find out that it was planned just for it's hype value. I can accept Allegiant's ending, but for now, I remain wary of Veronica's future books' endings.

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  12. Personally, I don't have a problem with the ending itself. Among other problems I found with Allegiant (and Insurgent), I have a problem with HOW the ending was handled. I believe fans can deal with bitter-sweet endings that aren't exactly happy (i.e. The Fault in Our Stars), but I think fans have a difficult time processing an ending where the bitter overshadows the sweet.

    I believe in this instance, the themes that Veronica attempted to address and the message she desired to convey got lost in the execution of the finale. She wrote a very, very good post on her personal blog describing why she felt the Divergent story deserved the ending that it received, and I agree with her reasoning. I just believe it was poorly execution on her part, which ultimately led to many fans to be disappointed.

    Although, I feel Allegiant fell short, I still appreciate the fact that Veronica decided to share the Divergent story with the world, and it is never, NEVER okay for fans to threaten an author because they disagree with an ending or how it was handled. The first book will always be magical for me, and as much as I immensely enjoyed it, I unfortunately can't see myself reading the series again due to how the ending was executed. For me, the hope and sacrifice that was made in the end was overshadowed by the bitter taste of how it was handled.

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  13. I agree that an author should never be threatened. I, too, am very glad Veronica shared these books with the world. I love Divergent, Insurgent, and 2/3 of Allegiant! Seriously, I'm making peace in my heart with the ending. I think you've brought up very good points about the execution of the ending and that helps validate how I feel. Thanks. The Divergent Official Trailer is out now and looks very good.

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