Hey guys. Ready for another YA book review?
So, if you haven’t heard, I was skeptical before I read Lauren Oliver’s DELIRIUM. I’d seen it around for a while, but the premise just sounded too far-fetched for me: a society that has ridded itself of the disease “love.”
Are you having the same initial reaction I did? Then let me put your leery hearts at ease.
Delirium is freaking awesome.
Yes, I went from skeptic to believer in those 400+ pages. And I loved every single one of them.
In the future (read: dystopia), after we’ve blown ourselves to bits, the government has cordoned off the U.S. into special safe areas. The wilderness between these Utopian pockets is called the Wilds. Those that live in the safe, government-run societies believe that no one lives in the Wilds any longer. The government was said to have destroyed all the “Invalids” that lived there years ago.
Which is just fine with Lena Haloway. She is happy to live in a society that’s been cured of “amor deliria nervosa.” It was the cause of all of societies ills before the cure: fights, feuds, depression, you name it.
And there it is, folks. This is the part I found hokey, initially.
But then, Oliver does something unexpected –she recalls all of those first love memories –the can’t eat, can’t sleep, obsessive phone checking behavior, etc. And somehow, she makes it believable that people might want to get rid of it. Especially when you remember all of those first love breakup memories…
The cure? A lobotomy-like procedure a la One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. After they excise that little part of your brain you won’t miss, you’ll never have to worry about love again. The government will assign you a list of choices for a mate, and you’ll go through life without pain, without sadness, without all of the nasty side-effects of attachment. You’ll never hurt again.
But Oliver raises the question: Can you ever truly be happy if you aren’t sometimes sad? The answer, of course, is no.
The main character, Lena, doesn’t believe this whispered truth until she meets Alex, an Invalid posing as a boy who’s been “cured.” As Lena discovers love for the first time, and all of the feelings (good and bad) that go with it, she begins to question those in power in her society, as well as her own previous beliefs that “love” is a disease –one you never want to catch.
I won’t throw in any spoilers, but suffice it to say that the tension begins to ratchet once Lena meets Alex, and doesn’t stop until the last page.
I’d highly recommend this book. I give it a 5 out of 5.