Friday, April 13, 2012

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
If you can judge a book by how badly you want to read the sequel, well... I finished Delirium last night, and today I am running out to the book store to grab Pandemonium!

Lena has grown up in Portland, Maine, one of the "approved cities" in the U.S.  In this alternative society, love (or amor deliria nervosa) has been deemed a disease, something of which all young people are cured.  They undergo a procedure which alters the brain to no longer feel love or emotional pain--they essentially become emotionally numb.
(Cue Pink Floyd music, here.)  Lena is actually looking forward to the procedure and the calmness that will come after.  She is afraid that she, like her mother, will contract the disease.  It drove her mother to suicide.  However, a few months before she is scheduled for her procedure, Lena falls in love.
Alex opens Lena's eyes to what it's like to love and feel loved, to experience joy, and he reveals the truth about her mother.  But, can they escape Portland before Lena's procedure?  Will she be doomed to a life without Alex, without joy, without love?

I am on a dystopia kick right now, so I was pretty excited to read Delirium.  I found the premise really interesting... the idea that love can be seen as harmful.  I understand how the idea formed.  Love can make people to do all kinds of things--some of them bad.  Yet, a life without it, is hard to imagine.  As a mother, I think the thing that really got to me was the description of how parents who have been "cured" behave with their children.  There were moments when I felt a little annoyed by Lena's descriptions about how beautiful Alex looks and the flowery language she uses to describe every detail.  However, I had to keep reminding myself that from Lean's point of view (that of a teenage girl), the language we appropriate.  In other words, from a young woman's perspective as narrator, Lauren Oliver nailed it!  I cannot wait to read Pandemonium!

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