Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Love, or Amor Deliria Nervosa, is a disease. It is the real cause of stroke, heart disease, and pretty much any other ailment that humans once suffered from. Then came the cure which is administered to every person at age 18. The cure calms you. The cure makes you safe.

Lena longs for the cure. She is counting down the days until her 18th birthday and she can be free of all her troublesome emotions and paired with her life partner. That is at least until she meets Alex. Alex has another outlook on the cure and suddenly Lena is questioning everything she took for granted. Not to mention having a little steamy romance, which is, of course, completely forbidden (and probably a little hotter because of it, right?).

I really liked the way the author built up the mythology around the cure. Every chapter begins with a quote from a text that kids grow up studying. Much comes from the hilariously acronymed Book of Shhh (or The Safety, Health, and Happiness Handbook).

I would have liked to have known more about the procedure. It seemed to be some sort of lobotomy. What I was most curious about is if this “cure” made a person free from desire and love how come the society is so interested in preserving the family unit? I found the descriptions of child rearing chilling. And truthfully I didn’t understand how the children weren’t all sociopaths or wickedly unhappy with the lack of love and human touch they receive from their birth on.

And further more, just how exactly does sex work? I mean really, let’s just get to the point, no? Lena makes a couple references to her wedding night and how she would have to let her partner put his hands on her. Surely a procedure that removes desire would kill the sex drive too? Is it proscribed sex? Is there a mandatory sex regimen that they have to follow? Is the procedure different for men and women?

Finally, why is it enforced so thoroughly and harshly? This world that Lena lives in is essentially a dictatorship. There is a narrowly proscribed way to act. There are people who watch and turn you in for infractions. What I didn’t get a sense of is who is benefitting from this? And for a world like this to function, someone has to be top dog and getting something out of it. Like a secret harem. Just sayin'.

Despite my questions, I did enjoy this and think that it will be a big hit for the teen ladies who will swoon over the hot and heavy forbidden romance.

Book Source = committee book


Madigan McGillicuddy said...

Great review, and some great questions you raised there. I just finished reading this last night, and I'm still letting this swirl around in my head for a bit.

Patti said...

Thanks! I am still thinking about this book, trying to wrap my brain around it.

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