A Stepford Society: A Review of Lauren Oliver’s “Delirium”

Posted: June 23, 2015 in Book Review, Young Adult
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Goodreads.com Description: “Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.”

I originally reviewed this book on Goodreads.com in December 2014 before I started this blog. 

The premise of  Lauren Oliver’s Delirium is that love is a disease to be avoided at all costs. It is the root of all problems, even crime. The America in Oliver’s book has secured borders and a procedure that removes emotion from eighteen year olds. It’s supposed to be ‘the cure’, if it works. Yes, there are some citizens that the cure doesn’t work on even after repeated procedures. The main character, Lena, is actually counting down to the date of her procedure. She’s not trying to escape or avoid it…yet.

Although the story had a slow start, I eventually got caught up in Oliver’s descriptions. She made the settings, in my opinion, leap off the page (sorry for the cliche). I could easily visualize the different areas around Portland. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of the book before I realized that the book was set in Portland, Maine.

I actually enjoyed the character development in the book. In the beginning, Lena was someone that I didn’t care for a lot. I thought she was a poor little girl who didn’t have any experience. She was okay with living in a “Stepford-wife” world. Then she meets a forbidden boyfriend, Alex. By the end of the book, I just wanted her to escape with Alex and have a real life.

The story did provide a little food for thought as well. Oliver’s America had electrified walls around its border with round the clock patrols. I first thought of the wall that used to divide East and West Berlin. With immigration reform in the news, however, I wondered if we could eventually live in a world with locked borders. That would definitely render America as not being the home of the free.

The fictitious book excerpts at the beginning of each chapter made me think as well. “The devil stole into the Garden of Eden. He carried with him the disease–amor deliria nervosa–in the form of a seed. It grew and flowered into a magnificent apple tree, which bore apples as bright as blood. (from Genesis: A Complete History of the World and the Known Universe).” What a creative way to twist the Bible! The book is full of these wonderful propaganda quotes. Unfortunately, if you put the right propaganda out there, you will always get believers. And, that’s the real story behind Oliver’s book. Events happened and some great master minds decided that love was the reason for the outcomes. Don’t believe everything you see and read people!

Needless to say, I enjoyed Delirium. It is a worthwhile read that I recommend to teens and adults. If you haven’t read it, be sure to pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.

[I’ll post a review for the next book in the series on Thursday.]

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