Thursday, July 28, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I had a hard time believing in this story. Portland Maine has become a small dictatorship. It is surrounded by electrified fences. It has crypts for permanent enemies of the state. It has rules regarding what you can and cannot read, watch on tv, see in plays, etc. Religion is really the indoctrination of people with the values of the state. And, romantic love is called a virus which is cured once a person passes his/her seventeenth birthday, by brain surgery, which sometimes goes badly wrong and sometimes doesn't work. After that, people are passively, accepting of their fates. They are assigned jobs, they are assigned spouses, they are told how many children they are allowed to have. There are only hints of how/why this happened. A person can sort of understand that if one grew up in this restricted society, knew nothing else then this would all seem normal. Understanding why adults who apparently lived at the time of whatever happened believe in this system is harder to understand. Except rumors abound about invalids (uncured) living in the wilds outside the fence. Folks are aware that there is a world across the ocean they know nothing about, and don't care since the cure. There are resistors. Lena, just before her cure, learns that romantic love has a lot to recommend itself. Lena goes to illicit concerts with music not controlled by the state. Lena even gets to visit the wilds with her love, Alex, a resistor. Of course eventually they get caught, pretty much everyone does. There are so many safeguards against escape such as the fences, constant violent raids and whatnot that it would be virtually impossible not to. In fact, this situation seems virtually hopeless as far escape or a future of freedom of choice and of true love. Reminiscent of Lowry's The Giver which is less violent and more hopeful. JDW7/28

No comments: