Delirium (Delirium #1)
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult
THEY SAY that
the curefor Love
will make me happy and safe
And I've always believe them.
Now everything has changed.
Now, I'd rather be infected
with love for the tiniest
sliver of a second than
live a hundred years
smothered by a lie.
Delirium was the first book on my Dewey's Read-a-thon list. It is a book I bought at V-Stock using credit because I kept hearing about it and its sequel that had been just coming out. It also turns out goodreads.com had kept recommending it to me over and over, but the cover hadn't caught my eye or I must of not read the blurb very well, because I kept rejecting it.
What was wrong with me? This book has elements that remind me of The Giver by Lois Lowry and "Stupid Perfect Love" a short story by Scott Westerfield in the anthology Love is Hell, and coincidentally the work by him(it is a fantastic story) that got me to actually go and read Uglies, but I digress. The element that hormones and love are a disease is a theme that is ingrained in the human consciousness. We as humans find ourselves falling in love, and therefore becoming vulnerable to those we love giving them the ability to tear our hearts out and stomp them rather visciously on the floor, causing all sorts of symptoms (And I'm not just talking about significant other, I'm talking about all love, family and friend love included. You know you've been there before readers). So logic of course says, why don't we get rid of it? And that's where these books are fantastic. It weighs in your mind, is love a good thing or a bad thing? Would you live without love? So many people would say yes, and so many others would say no.
Delirium goes through this point beautifully, showing us people "cured", "uncured" and as with
"uncurable". We are shoved into a world of propaganda against love. A
world that is fleshed out an highly detailed in its belief system, thanks to
blurbs at the beginning of each chapter that help to flesh out what these
characters are brought up with: a combination of religion, science and forced
propaganda, the twisting of Mary Magdalene being a perfect example of that.
The characters are a variety of types and we see how each one reacts when faced with the reality that the "cure" is not as amazing as they thought it would be, and will they risk their lives to keep the love and passion? Or will they just skirt the borders and rebel only if it seems safe?
Some very important things that the book did that I liked:
One, the development of
mother. I loved how we slowly got to know a woman who just wasn't wired not to
love, who taught her children with laughter and love, raising Lena
with an experience of love without her even realizing it. Lena's mother is the
reason Lena is so afraid of love, as she is lead to believe that she had
committed suicide because of it, but the revelation that instead her mother was
jailed for free thinking, pulls away the last resistance that Lena had. She realizes
that there are very few things for her here, and that her mother had not left
her because of a disease.
with her resistances falling down remind me so much of myself I found myself
wholly identifying with her. The way she went from adhering perfectly to
everything and being afraid to running to the first flutters of her heart felt
realistic to me.
I also loved the ending. It's rather morose of me, but I love it when the main couple are pulled apart like this. I feel like it is done to show the readers that even though love is a theme of the story, this is less of a romance and more of a coming of age story for Lena, and you cannot argue that
Lena grew in this story as she ends
up a much different person at the end.
I wonder what she will find out in the wilds, and I really hope she finds her mother. But in general she is someone who has to do something and that's what I'm most looking forward to.
I recommend this to lovers of dystopias in the traditional way, in the "makes you think" way. I felt as if Oliver approached the theme of love in a careful and interesting way. I also recommend this to people who enjoy good world building in dystopias. This book really does make Wither seem like a weak shadow of a book. I flipflopped between 4.5 and 5 bookmarks for this, but in the end, because it did make me think and I liked it a lot, for now I will give it 5.