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Delirium by Lauren Oliver (2011)
Delirium (2011)
by Lauren Oliver
Hardcover Edition
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
buy a copy via Amazon.
synopsis via Goodreads.

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love — the deliria — blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My Thoughts:
It appears I am in the minority that didn’t fall head over heels for this book. I suspect I went in with high expectations and left with disappointment when the book didn’t deliver. I found it much like The Uglies series with the whole “cure” thing, but with less action and more lovey-dovey stuff. However, I know why so many people love this book: the prose is absolutely beautiful. I liked the idea of a society where love is a disease; it made me contemplate the purpose of this society and if the people are still human if they have no love. However, the story it was just so unbelievably predictable where everything was all rainbows and butterflies…until maybe the last twenty pages or so. Delirium is really a love story more so than a dystopian novel.

I needed more depth in the world, and the society to make me believe Lena’s world–because right now I think he dystopian society is just background information to build tension for the Lena’s love story. I should’ve played Rihanna’s “We Found Love” while reading this: “we found love in a hopeless place~”

The imagery–stunning, the similies–lovely, the idea–fascinating, but the pace was just incredibly languid. Delirium was like taking a long stroll in the park, where even the tiniest ant gets a page of description. The flowery prose was just a bit too much for me, making me grow tired of this book after the first fifty pages. I found myself trying to find excuses to get out of reading Delirium, and I’m proud of myself for finally finishing it–after a week. And even after 440 pages, why do I still feel like nothing much happened?

How Does This Love-less Society Even Function? (World-building):
Many ideas felt very sketchy and it was the main reason this book didn’t work for me. More importantly, how did it come to be anyway. Did all the butthurt, divorced, unhappy catladies bond together wreck havoc “If I can’t have it, nobody can!” style?
For a society where love was taboo, the society using the term very loosely and frequently: “I love children”, “I love Examination Day,” etc. What left me extremely confused was how love was supposed to be blamed for war. What is this? Helen of Troy and the Trojan War? I also don’t know what’s stopping another country from invading this one. If the people are all anti-war, then you might as well go and take over. “Let’s go and take over this society since they refuse to fight back anyway!”
And if love is forbidden in family, do children even grow up normally? Or do they all need to see a shrink?

Indifference is Worse Than Hate:
A theme in Delirium is how the cured, bereft of extreme emotions, turn into zombie-like people. And their indifference is worse than hate which left me a big confused. I don’t agree that indifference is worse than hate: surely ignoring your children is better than stabbing them, right?
If people are truly indifferent to others, then I can only imagine people not working and stealing from each other instead. It’ll be a society where it’s each person for themselves. If hate is eradicted, you can torture people on a whim and they’d be like “OOOOWW, this hurts. But it’s okay, I don’t hate you.” I’m surprised they need a life sentence, they might as well kill off their “lifers,” since they are indifferent about humanity anyway. And nobody would care enough to complain.

These People Have Money and Manpower To Waste:
The “regulators” (basically police) freqeuntly have raids where they beat people with maces, guns, etc. It is mentioned that the Regulators are “smiling,” which hints that they aren’t so bereft of emotion–but whether it’s love for violence, or hate–I’m not sure, but not indifference. They also like wasting a ammunition. Really? A helicopter, guns, and a dozen people to capture two teenagers heading towards an electric fence?

Protagonist who is five feet two, and plain. And in her eyes she’s probably ugly too. What’s with all these self-conscious main characters. You don’t need a guy to tell you that you’re beautiful to be beautiful. Get some self-esteem, girl. IF you look anything like you do on your covers, and you still think you are ugly, the rest of us most me morbidly hideous.
I she’s a rather passive character. I like dissecting her character, and her beautiful command of language, and unraveling her emotions. I would’ve expected her to freak out about falling in love though since she has been taught to believe that being in love is fatal disease. Wouldn’t it be like being told you have cancer, where you count down the days to your demise? Either she doesn’t believe that love is a fatal disease and the brainwashing never worked in the first place.

Lena’s love interest, brilliant liar, and an uncured. Just imagine the perfect guy who doesn’t mind talking for hours. His background is still a mystery. I hope to see some flaws, insecurities from him because he is feeling awfully flat right now. I have a strong feeling that they will pull a “Peeta” on him and have him cured, and used to blackmail Lena. I’ll see in the next book. I hope I’m wrong though.

Hana, aka. The Best Friend
Hands down, my favorite character. Unlike Lena, has a lot more confidence.
I don’t know why YA loves having the best friend prettier, taller, more popular than the protagonist. Or do all protagonists have low self esteem? In the YA world, are all the beautiful girls looking for girls uglier than them to be best friends just so they can look better?

Romance (Lena and Alex):
I like how their romance built up. I didn’t care too much for Alex, he fell flat for me as the perfect boyfriend.
They have dates where they stay in some rundown house with bats and cockroaches (not very romantic if you ask me, but whatever) and TALK for hours. Actually, it’s more of her talking and him listening. A guy that actually sits still to “talk” for hours instead of playing video games…what species is this guy? He is even better than the guys out of Harlequins.
However, I do not approve of this “I just met you a few months ago, but I as long as I have you, nothing else matters!” business. But I guess Lena is “in love,” so common sense is out the door. I am waiting for her “first love” emotions to dissipate and for reality to set in (yes, I am evil like that.)

Overall, this book didn’t work for me like I hoped it would. Or maybe romance just isn’t my thing. Despite the beautiful language, the pace was a test to my patience. If you are looking for a sweet, somewhat thought-provoking, forbidden love story–this is your book.

Rating: B–

Those excerpts in the beginning of the novel have such tiny text!
I liked the nursery rhyme though:
“Mama, Mama, help me get home
I’m out in the woods, I am out on my own.
I found me a werewolf, a nasty old mutt
It showed me its teeth and went straight for my gut.

Mama, Mama, help me get home
I’m out in the woods, I am out on my own.
I was stopped by a vampire, a rotting old wreck
It showed me its teeth and went straight for my neck.

Mama, Mama, put me to bed
I won’t make it home, I’m already half-dead.
I met an Invalid, and fell for his art
He showed me his smile, and went straight for my heart.”
-Delirium by Lauren Oliver, page 69

Spoilerly Thoughts I Need To Get Out Of My System
Why did her mother leave her necklace in the jail cell? And what the heck did she carve that stone with?
I don’t know how a motorcycle will aid you in being inconspicuous.