Read: May 2017
Adjectives To Describe This Book: Unnerving, a bit of a let down, harsh reminder of our reality, very ‘black or white’
Read If You Are: interested in how social media/tech can change the world – positively and negatively
Some books make you happy. Some make you sad. Some make you want to reach into the book and shake the characters. This was the last one.
I don’t have a problem with dystopian novels. You know they’re talking of something super fucked up and it takes place in the future which seems far away, unattainable. The Circle, however, speaks of a world that is now. And that’s unnerving.
It’s funny – they are trying to show you ‘Utopia’, but all I could see was ‘Dystopia’.
The book follows the life of Mae Holland who has recently joined The Circle, a company that seems like a mix of Google and Facebook (or if Google Plus had actually done well). She joins the company that seems to be happy to take care of everything – they look after the employees well, make sure that they’re happy and involved but to a fault. I remember this scene in the beginning of the book where HR questions her about why she didn’t share what she was doing over the weekend, why she didn’t want to share the details of her father’s MS conditions? Didn’t she realize that there were other people out there who could have helped her? Similarly other people who could have benefited from her knowledge?
This seemed all too forced to me. The characters were flawed and I didn’t empathise with pretty much anyone. You could see the transformation of Mae – going from quiet and grateful to careless and ‘like/smile’ hungry. You could see that how living in her ‘utopian’ world, she was so greatly affected by anything even minutely ‘negative’ and how she obsessed over it. There really was no character development for any other character – everyone else was so uni-dimensional.
The book was very black or white – to an extreme. I do not deny that the inventions were really cool and could be life changing but then again, to go to the extent to say that everyone should broadcast their life and that ‘privacy is theft’ and ‘secrets are lies’ is taking it to a whole new level.
Apart from that I didn’t like that the book had no chapters. It had ‘Book 1 – 3’ within it but it felt very slow. So much detailing really wasn’t necessary.
In the end, all I can say is that I really wanted to like the book. No doubt, the book was very interesting and well thought out. The author wanted to shake you and keep you unnerved and that was definitely taken care of. This is a good one time read, but honestly you could also watch the movie.
“Better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than in the middle of some ladder you don’t, right?”
“Did you ever think that perhaps our minds are delicately calibrated between the known and the unknown? That our souls need the mysteries of night and the clarity of day?”
“Under the guise of having every voice heard, you create mob rule, a filterless society where secrets are crimes.”
“The tools you guys create actually manufacture unnaturally extreme social needs. No one needs the level of contact you’re purveying. It improves nothing. It’s not nourishing. It’s like snack food. You know how they engineer this food? They scientifically determine precisely how much salt and fat they need to include to keep you eating. You’re not hungry, you don’t need the food, it does nothing for you, but you keep eating these empty calories. This is what you’re pushing. Same thing. Endless empty calories, but the digital-social equivalent. And you calibrate it so it’s equally addictive.”