Lesley's Reviews > Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
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Apr 25, 11

bookshelves: social-science-fiction, romance

I could just say "What reviewer Tatiana said" because she said it very well, but I'll add a few things. Clearly, lots of readers are loving this book, but I had some problems, not least of which is how this ground has been covered (and covered better) before.

The set-up wasn't believable to me. As Tatiana pointed out, the "cure" is supposed to get rid of romantic love, but so many other emotions remain, including sadistic enjoyment of violence. It would have been so much more chilling if the "cured" were truly emotion-less, kind of Stepford-Wife-y, but they didn't seem all that different. And I didn't buy that romantic love really could be blamed for all society's problems and it didn't seem like this was far enough in the future for people's beliefs to have changed so dramatically that they would truly believe it was a disease.

But my biggest problem is that books like these, which criticize hypothetical future authoritarian governments for spinning the truth, spin their own version of the truth: that love = a perfect boy who loves you perfectly and that's all that matters. That all-consuming love for the perfect boy can be how first/mad love feels, but in the real world, that perfect boy may not be so perfect after all--or he might not fall deeply in love with you after a few brief interactions. And other things do matter. I'm not saying I agree with the hypothetical future authoritarian government! I'm just saying this is yet another book that raises expectations of what love is supposed to be like. We may read to escape into fantasies, but there still has to be some elements of believability in those fantastical worlds.
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