Author: Dave Eggers
Genre: Utopian/Dystopian Sci-Fi
Release Date: October, 2013
Rating: (4.0 / 5)
The first thought I had when I realised this is really a good book was, ‘Where has this book been all my life?’. This wasn’t I book I stumbled upon, I had to read it for English class! Finally, some teachers who understand that dry literature isn’t all I want to read in my free time. This book has an important message, and boy is it a powerful one.
“When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America–even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.” [Goodreads]
The story is about Mae Holland, an ordinary (she thinks so) girl who has spent the last few years working at an awful company where she wasn’t being valued. Then her old roommate from college hooks her up with a job at the most succesful and respected company of the world, The Circle. We follow her in to the process of becoming a Circler and the struggle she has, fitting in to this new world. The characters are really fun. You have the ex-roommate Annie, who has a high position in the company and is hilarious. Francis, a guy who is not good with words but a man Mae is attracted to, Kalden, a mystery lover who drives Mae crazy.
A couple of things about the Circle, it’s created by the Three Wise Men and what does the company produce? Everything. From new methods to fight crime to new gadgets. It’s extremely succesful and innovating, so much that the campus (they call the entire Circle ground that) holds 10.000 employees.
What I really like about this story, are the fun easter eggs. Through out you can spy with a little bit of insight a couple of metaphors and weird paradoxes. For example, Mae really hates her ex-boyfriend Mercer and people who are not connected, but she goes kayaking a couple of times in the book, without her phone to make photos or posting something about it. A reason for the kayaking isn’t given, but what becomes clear to me when I read those passages is that Mae really enjoyes being alone and not being connected. She describes how she feels the water below her, the horizon in front of her and the birds that she sees. The Circle is all about connecting, they are a society in a society. They almost require you to be socially active. I think that Mae needs the silence every once in a while, but not on purpose. Because when she has been asked why she doesn’t post anything about kayaking, she doesn’t really know why not and she thinks it was kind of foolish of her.
Maybe you can already spot the problem about this book, I’m not going in to detail about that because I don’t want to ruin the story for you, but what bothered me is that I spotted this problem so early on, the whole plot line I knew before I had read 50 pages. That’s why this only gets 4 hearts [T].
But let me tell you, how Eggers puts down this problem. It is prophetic. This could be a way our society is going and this does not only entertain, it makes you think. This message is something you walk around with a few days while reading the book, and is the line the whole story follows. At the end you can’t believe what has happened, Mae’s world changes and the plottwist. Whoo, I had to sit down for that one.
I think it’s funny that this is sort of an utopian book, but the world Mae lives in seems pretty similar to ours. Only we don’t have a private company who makes groundbreaking discoveries which could lead to who-knows-what. At least, not yet..
Have you read this book? It’s not really YA, but it’s written in away that I think will speak to YA readers too! Let us know your thoughts on The Circle down below!
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