Okay. A review - or better a hopefully short explanation - after reading 104 pages, which in the case of "Delirium" means, I am still in the middle of the introductory chapters before the "real story" starts.
I do not know what I had expected storywise, when I pre-ordered the book. There were two factors, that made me do it, though: I had been very impressed by the author's courageous debut Before I Fall
and the emotions reading it exposed me to. And - like almost every YA book lover out here - I am on the lookout for great dystopian fiction. Since I have consumed several representatives of that species which simply weren't worth the time I concluded that one by an author whose earlier work I admired should be a safe choice.
Yes, although I did not have fixed expectations concerning the story or the setting, I did have certain anticipations concerning the havoc Ms Oliver would wreak in my mind. After turning a quarter of the pages I am still waiting for my heart to contract, for my mind to reel, for my conscience to have difficulties in taking sides. Instead, I am getting a little bored, since I cannot detect something really new, and the only effort my mind is making (I feel brain-amputated, too, because I cannot love a book I am supposed to love) is to evaluate, whether the teenage heroine Magdalena’s calmness and adaptiveness and believe in the system are realistic or not. (A few weeks ago I watched a documentary about the importance of an infant’s first year for its intellectual and emotional development. Research shows that the exaggerated, fond conversation parents have with their babies – all that positive grimacing and cooing and constant contact-keeping - is so very crucial. Babies who were cared for by parents suffering severe depressions who kept blank faces and did not interact much with their infants, quickly stopped searching for emotional responses in their parents’ faces and were diagnosed as having notable developmental delays later.) Magdalena is one of the rare kids who was cuddled, comforted and loved in secret by her mom. Therefore, in my opinion, she should have more urges to have emotional outbursts than to painfully follow the rules. But I am not sure. Maybe her story is
realistic the way it is depicted.
What is is not
Riveting or shocking or frightening like, for instance, the film Equilibrium
, which really shows a controlled and altered society, the consequences of the cropped ability to feel. I think even without the visuals Equilibrium
as a book would have sent me into a turmoil a hundred times stronger than Delirium.
It is also not as well explained, as skillfully multi-layered, and as intricately shown from an inside-angle as The Giver
by Lois Lowry, although the latter has a lot less pages to make the situation stomach-wrenchingly uncomfortable and eerie to the reader.
And last it is not as exciting as the Uglies
Series by Scott Westerfeld, which offers a setting that does not differ so much from „Delirium“: Authorities dealt with the human faults that led to a global catastrophe by turning everybody over 15 into pretty, rather dumb and peaceful people, who mind their jobs, meet their kids now and then and are content with partying and working. Like Lena Tally looks forward to her transformation - in her case from ugly to pretty - , to her move into the pretties’ dormitory ... until her best friend starts to install doubts into her mind. And ... whoosh ... the reader is drawn into a breathless thrill-ride that lasts three volumes and makes countless unexpected turns.
I flipped through the remaining three quarters of „Delirium“ and – as well as I can judge by catching a phrase here and there – the road to the cliffy ending seems to be pretty straight and allows time for picking pretty flowers on the way.
So. That was the explanation for my taking the next exit and grabbing the next book on my pile.
I think, I’ll go for a historical romance – highly unusual for me.
I advise the still undecided to read either The Giver
, the Uglies
or both and to watch Equilibrium
Street Corner Bookers’ Pile Reduction Challenge, #11 (challenger: Kristy)