Friday, February 18, 2011
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
My hands are literally shaking as I write this. Delirium was a book of so many emotions. It was beautiful. It changed me. Go read it. I promise, you won't walk away dissapointed.
I had high expectations for Delirium, but the minute I started reading, this book flew right past them. Everything is so beautiful, and Lauren Oliver hits it bang on. I'll start with how much I loved the writing. Lauren Oliver does not dissapoint in her second novel, and continues to write beautifully. There were so many lines and descriptions in this book that I caught myself reading over and over again, because they are so, so gorgeous. I read Delirium word for word, rather slow, so I could pay attention to all the amazing descriptions and appreciate them all. Lauren Oliver's writing makes me get all choked up, it's so full of emotion, and one of the best thing in her books. Delirium (her second novel) definitely shows that she has amazing talent as a writer.
Let's talk about the dystopian world in Delirium. In Delirium, the main character, Lena, lives in a future dystopian world in Portland, where love has been considered a disease. Upon turning eighteen, you have an operation that the government decrees necessary so that love or "amor deliria nervosa" can no longer touch you. After that, you are paired with somebody who will be your spouse for the rest of your life.
Wow. What a beautiful and fascinating dystopian world. I was originally drawn in firstly when I saw Delirium was by Lauren Oliver, but also because it was dystopian, and the idea that love was considered a disease sounded so interesting. And, oh, I was very surprised. The dystopian world of Delirium is definitely amazing, and well thought out. I understand how some may think that there's no way the world will ever get to thinking love is a disease, and I do agree with them. However, it is still an amazing dystopian novel that carries a very interesting message.
In some ways, the aspect of love being a disease is not horrifying, but in other ways, I do find it is. I loved how the author payed attention to the fact that once you have your operation done, you will no longer love not just your soulmate/one true love, but your family, your friends, and (once you're older, your children.) You also will no longer have interest in things that you loved, and hobbies that do had before the cure. I found it so well done that Lauren Oliver payed attention to every detail creating every bit that the cure to love takes away.
And the characters. Oh, wow, the characters. I loved them. Delirium is told in first person present, and our narrator in Lena, a seventeen year old girl who cannot wait for the time when she can be cured. Her mother was infected with the disease of love, and it has shamed her and her family ever since then. I enjoyed Lena because she changes. She chnages throughout the novel, discovering what's right and what's wrong for her, and all about what society is actually doing around her. At first, she bugged me a little. She seemed like such a simple, flat character. But then I realised why. She's grown up in this dystopian world her whole life, and she's simply answering and obeying what she has been taught. For about half of the novel, she is a perfect example of a almost "brain-washed" member of the dystopian world. Lauren Oliver has showed off another of her talents to create believeable charactes, or characters that are believeable for the situation they're in. The other characters were just as great. I loved Alex, the boy Lena falls in love with, and I loved him even more as him and Lena started to fall in love. He was such an interesting character to read about. I also really enjoyed Hana, Lena's best friend. She really held such significance in the story. She was a much loved character for me, from the time she whispered something to Lena during their first evaluation.
Overall, a spectacular novel. Th ending of Delirium probably made my heart break. It was such a cliffhanger, and I was totally not prepared. At that point, all my emotions bubbled over, and I cried a bit. I had to choke back tears for a while after, too. But Delirium was such a beautiful book, it was gorgeous in every single way, and I am hungrily awaiting more. But I need to sit here and think about it for a while. This one definitely makes the Shelf, and has a special place in my heart, never to be replaced.