Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.
I have read quite a few dystopian novels in the past couple of years and have begun to get kind of burnt out on this genre. That is until I read Delirium by Lauren Oliver. She brings the creepy and terrifying ideas of a dystopia to a new level. What if after your 18th birthday you had to under-go a procedure that would make sure that you never felt love? This procedure is said to be a cure for deliria caused by love, but which is really a way to control the masses. Without love there would be no hate, no violence and the human population of the enclosed cities would be docile and controlled. Scary, right?
Wait, there’s more. There is also a control on what the people of these cities see, read, and hear. They can only listen to approved music and read approved texts. Poetry and most music are not approved and are made illegal. Why? Because they make people actually feel something, even if it’s not love.
You see, this procedure, basically a lobotomy, makes people into unfeeling zombies. Those who have it do not remember, nor do they miss their friends they had before the procedure. You don’t have romantic feelings towards your “match” or even feel love for your children. Scary shit right there. So you can see how it would be easy for me to become fascinated by the world in which Lauren Oliver has created in her novel.
That brings us to our main character, Lena. She has always had it rough. Her mother killed herself after the cure didn’t work on her after she’d had it multiple times. Whispers of suicide follow her wherever she goes and she gets suspicious glances from those around her— will she be just like her mother?
In the beginning of the novel, I really didn’t like Lena much. She was a “prude” and did what she was expected to do. Her friend Hana was more up to my speed. Hana was the complete opposite of Lena, free-spirited and a bit on the wild side. Needless to say I was very surprised by both of these characters over the course of the novel. When Lena meets Alex, a cured, she starts to feel the symptoms of deliria and has to try to hide it from everyone else around her, or she will risk having to have the procedure early and exposing Alex for who he truly is. When Lena starts allowing herself to actually have feelings is when I warmed up to and began to like her.
That being said, I loved Alex from the get-go, even though I had questions about him. Alex is sweet, caring, and has many secrets of his own.
I need to stop, lest I give away important bits that happen later in the novel. Just know that Delirium is pretty darn fascinating. The propaganda in the beginning of each chapter is terrifying and gives the reader glimpses into a creepy dystopian state and I hope that our world never goes down that path.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Delirium and am itching to know what happens next.