Saturday, March 05, 2011
About the book:
There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it. Then, at last, they found the cure. Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she'll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable...
Delirium is a compulsively readable novel where the world is "Logan's Run" meets the Nazis. It was a complex and fascinating look into a world where people merely exist and play the roles laid out for them by the society they live in. There is no crime and divorce, but there is also no passion or love. Love is seen as a disease that must be cured, and emotional joy in life must be suppressed. Each chapter began with a rewritten proverb, principle, or rules about their society that fit that belief system. Even the story of original sin in the garden of Eden was rewritten to fit their government's twist on the truth.
How would anyone survive a in world without love? Delirium uses a variety of fictional scenarios to take the reader there and give them a taste while entertaining at the same time. In the story people are told what they must think and who they must marry, or they will be exterminated or imprisoned in the crypts for life. The premise of the story is compelling and I instantly connected with the characters and their longings.
This is the kind of book that makes you think. Situations in the story were an eerie, yet subtle allusion to what is really happening in the world today. They show how close we are as a society to getting where the people in the book were if we become complacent about our freedoms. Some things in the story were similar to the book 1984, but modernized. I found it fascinating.
Delirium skillfully showed how freedom can be restricted or removed under the cloak of protecting the people, when in reality it killed who they were as individuals. People who wanted to keep their emotions would rather die than be stripped of who they were as individuals through the cure, which was a surgical procedure on the brain that short-circuited the part of the brain that felt love. The story made me think of what it would be like to live in a country in the Middle East where you have to be Muslim or you are seen as an infidel and you die. Only this took place in the United States in the future. Kind of scary, but oh so possible.
Last, I was drawn into the main character's quest for meaning and for love. I was impressed with how the author planted the love in the Lena's heart by her mother when she raised her children and how she showed that it never left even after her mother was gone and she was only eight. That seed of love in her heart never died, but it was squelched by fear and brainwashing by the government until someone dared to show her that love is not a disease, but in fact it was worth sacrificing everything for. Reminded me of the salvation story and the sacrifice of Jesus, and this isn't even a Christian book.
I could not stop reading this story because I was on Lena's journey with her as she discovered the lies she'd been taught since her mother disappeared, and as she learned the truth about love. My heart broke for her and yet there was a bittersweet and beautiful ending to the story that left me wanting more, yet satisfied at the same time. I will definitely be looking for the second book in this series.
Delirium was published by Harper Collins (Harper Teen) and was released in February 2011. This novel was provided to me for review through NetGalley. The opinions expressed above are entirely my own.