October Discussion: Delirium




What did you guys think?

I’ll admit, it took me a while to get into it. I don’t know if it was the pressure of knowing that you guys were waiting for me to be done, or that it took me so long to even start (because I forgot it at home when we went to Europe), or if I just didn’t like the book, but I really struggled! (Confession: I’m still not quuuuuuite done. But almost! I wanted to get this up for you guys sooner rather than later. Forgive me?)

  • One of the key things in dystopic fiction is believable world-building. Especially when something like alternative science is involved. I think Lauren Oliver did a relatively good job with this aspect of the book; the procedure made me think of a lobotomy, and I wonder if she drew inspiration from that at all. The hard part with a concept like hers, though, is that you must then account for every way that the thing you have removed touches society. For example, the whole point of music is to make us feel something. If there is outlawed music, it is because that music is designed to touch something inside of people. Why wouldn’t they simply ban music altogether then? Wouldn’t other music, even “sanitized” and approved music, be kind of like a gateway drug? For the same reason, why would they even encourage or allow friendships?
  • Along the same lines, it seems crazy to me that society would still be centered around a nuclear family. If, as was outright stated, people didn’t even feel love towards their children, wouldn’t it have made as much sense, or more, even, to have people procreate and then have the state raise all the children in some sort of segregated institution, where they could have everyone under surveillance and government control at all times?
  • Why do so many authors feel the need to assert that their main character is average? “Oh I’m so totally normal and average and nothing special and everyone is prettier than me.” Is it to make them more relatable? Because I don’t find that relatable, I mostly find it annoying. I recognize that many people feel that way (I know I have), but having it constantly shoved in my face, against much evidence to the contrary, is more frustrating than relatable.
  • I really liked the way she drew the beginnings of Lena’s relationship with Alex. It was like every time I’ve ever fallen in love, too, and seemed so real. It rarely if ever made me roll my eyes.
  • Hana was a nice foil for Lena, originally flirting with sympathizing and rebellion, but ultimately (presumably) settling for the life that was prescribed for her while Lena, who was always the one determined to follow all the rules, who was actively looking forward to being cured, ends up falling off the deep end. Nicely done.

I can’t wait to hear what you guys have to say about the book! You can participate in the discussion in the comments here, or over in the Young Adulters forum on the blog (you’ll have to sign up if you haven’t already). 🙂 Do you think you will go on to read the rest of the trilogy?

See you here in two days for the announcement of our November book selection! Have you voted yet?

October Discussion: Delirium

One thought on “October Discussion: Delirium

  1. Alex L says:

    Okay, so finally finished and only one day late. My overall impression of a book is quite often determined by the ending. And, having taken an hour or so since finishing this book, my heart rate still has not returned to normal. Holy mackerel this book ended with a bang!

    For myself, I feel like the way the author used “sterilized” art forms helped to draw me into the world that she was creating. I felt that it was particularly powerful when she described what it was like for Lena to listen to unapproved music for the first time. Could you imagine only hearing elevator music your whole life, and then being introduced to music as we know it? So for me, that particular part added to the story.

    I agree completely with the nuclear family bit though! It seems strange that in a state with as much control as this one had that they would have parents raising their own children. Also, in this society if they had stripped away desire, why would there still be such inequality? If I didn’t want for anything couldn’t I eat the same balanced meal three times a day? And if I didn’t want anything, wouldn’t I be content to live in the same apartment block as every other person in my city?

    I also find it annoying when authors go on and on about their regular characters… Was there an interview portion in the back of your book? In my book there was and Lauren Oliver answered a question about this. Her response was basically that it isn’t any particular thing about anyone that makes them special. She created this focus because she was trying to illustrate how it is our actions and our choices that shape who we are, and we do not have to be “special” to do amazing things. So, I guess I do get it. But it is still annoying. Haha.

    I loved the way the author described Lena’s mother. I feel like she got a character who still was able to love jn a world where that was condemned pretty perfect. For instance, she wasn’t able to stop showing affection and happiness and singing, but she did her best to hide those things away.

    This is the first Lauren Oliver book I have read, but my god, she has a talent for capturing human relationships. The awkwardness, the beauty and everything in between.

    Also, I very much want to hear more about Grace. Guess I’ll have to read book two!

    Great choice for October Young Adulters!

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