The final book club book of the year was Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Set in a world where love is considered a disease that the population can be cured of when they come of age, Lena is counting down the days to her operation. But when Lena meets Alex things take a turn.
Overall most of the group seemed to enjoy the novel, pronouncing it interesting but at times a little superficial. Certain aspects of the books didn’t seem to quite add up, particularly the timeline with Lena’s mother and the concept of passion amongst the regulators finding pleasure in their job. But with reminders of 1984 and cold war communism this book seemed to tread the balance of science-fiction dystopia and a love story well. The group really liked the way a teenage relationship was depicted from Lena acting silly and irrational, but being self-aware enough to know this. In fact the group felt the whole depiction of being a teenager, even trapped in a dystopia, was accurate and the theme of growing up was well played. Certain questions like why the regime exists and how big the compound they all live in were left unanswered, but being the first in a series of books it was thought they might be answered in later novels. Overall an absorbing read.
Questions/aspects we discussed:
- How well did you find the portrayal of a love-cure?
- Did the book do a good job of explaining first love and did it feel relevant to modern day as well as the novel’s setting?
- Did the book explain how people could feel pleasure in their job like the regulators?
- What about the idea of unnaturalism, the idea that homosexuality can be cured in this regime – how did that make you feel, did you notice it (p.47/8 in our copies)?
- What about why the family unit still existed – do you think this was realistic in the world the book was set?
- Did it remind you of any other books/regimes?
- And the usual: did you like it, would you recommend it and if so to who?