Friday, July 8, 2011

Review: Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Pub. Date: February 2011
Sample the first chapter here!
It's been my experience over the years that a novel written mainly on the subject of love has not resulted in the production of one of the best stories I have ever read, or even, for that matter, one that I'd thought was very good (though there have been good ones, don't get me wrong). A story, in my opinion needs more at its base than just love. Perhaps I'm too critical of love stories, but I know I'm not the only one out there who feels this way, and regardless the point I'm trying to make is this: When I picked up a copy of Lauren Oliver's Delirium, I had my reservations.

Still, I found the story line intriguing enough (partially due to my current dystopian kick. I am a sucker for that kind of stuff), so I decided to give it a chance.

A girl, Lena Haloway, lives in a future where they have managed to find a cure for love, or amor deliria nervosa, as they call it -- "The deadliest of all deadly things." (Delirium, p.4, and others.) In this future, at the age of eighteen every citizen of the United States is eradicated of this "disease" whether they are willing, or not (as some cases may be.). At the start of this book, Lena has ninety-five days until her procedure, and she cannot wait. They say the cure is happiness, and Lena wants to be happy; she wants to be safe. Since the death of her mother (who killed herself because of the disease when Lena was six) that is all she ever wanted -- until she fell in love.

Interesting, if not a little too love focused, right?

Well, I am very glad I did not let my preconceived notions deter me from reading this amazing book. Delirium is quite possibly one of the most powerful and empowering love-based books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It explores not only the love story that is the bread and butter of the novel, but also the fears that lie beneath the idea of love itself.
The America of Delirium is a nation run by fear -- they're just too emotionally lobotomized to realize it. For sixty-four years they have thought of love as a disease, something to be afraid of contracting, because everything else -- "stress, heart disease, anxiety, depression, hypertension, insomnia, bipolar disorder [etc.]" (p.3) -- is merely considered a symptom of it. Anyone who fell in love, still wished to continue believing love, was someone to be feared, for they threatened the safety and stability of those who did not.
What does keep these people safe and stable are the electric fences they wrap around their registered communities, the constant monitoring of their activities , the tapping of their phones, the regulators who patrol their streets with billy clubs and mace who, especially on raid nights, if they feel you are doing something wrong (whether or not you actually are) will have no problem using them on innocent civilians , and some are depicted as enjoying it (honestly, i think that is a symptom of their coveted cure, sociopathic tendencies). And then, of course, there is the cure itself.
But it is the people who love each other that they need to be afraid of, but i digress.

If you have not yet read this book, I recommend you do. Delirium is more than just a love story. It's about discovering that what you believe in may not be of the approved norm, and finding the courage to stand up for it anyway. For that, as well as excellent storytelling, character and world building, this blogger gives Delirium 4.7-Stars.


If you have read it, or are reading along with us this month do you agree? What are your thoughts? Feel free to discuss the book with us below, or over at our Goodreads discussion.

1 comment:

  1. Just recently, I finished Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall. It was an emiotional roller-coaster ride for me, but I still enjoyed it. There's a lot of love for Delirium as well, so I'm definitely going to read it sometime in the future. Another awesome, well-written review!:)


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