Author: Lauren Oliver
Release date: 3rd Feb 2011 UK hardback
Target audience: 12+ / Adult Crossover
UK Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Summary from Amazon:
There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it.
Then, at last, they found the cure.
Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway 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 then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable...
It is not very often that a book leaves me speechless but Delirium did just that. My emotions were raw upon finishing the book and I am in awe of Oliver’s power over the written word. Her writing is simply divine.
Delirium is a dystopian novel which far outclasses other novels of the same genre. The future that Oliver imagines is one where love is seen as a disease to be cured. When people reach their eighteenth birthday, they have an operation to remove the part of the brain that is open to the amor deliria nervosa infection. After the operation, people’s emotions are limited, stunted, numbed. But they live free of the fear and terrible consequences of contracting the disease – the symptoms of which are many and deadly.
The saddest thing for me reading this book is that I could understand why the main character Lena wants the cure to the disease. Losing someone you love is the most unbearable pain and so I completely empathised with her urgency to have the treatment. The other tremendously sad thing is that not only does the treatment prevent the delirious love that can blossom for a partner, but it also eliminates the precious love a mother has for a child. I found it so heartbreaking that children weren’t comforted by their parents when they hurt themselves, not hugged and wrapped up in that unconditional devotion that is so much a part of a happy childhood.
At the beginning of the novel Lena is entrenched in the society’s propaganda. She has been preparing for her evaluation for weeks. She knows all the right answers to the assessors’ questions. She can quote the Book of Shhh off by heart. But of course, a story that is about love being a disease is always going to explore the power of love to break through barriers. Whether those barriers are the iron bars of a prison, the emotional scars of a neglected childhood or the structured brainwashing of a person’s mind, we need to believe that love can tear them down.
Despite the very emotive nature of this book, there were bright moments of humour and glorious golden touches of all kinds of happiness that love can bring into a life. But the clock ticks as Lena’s cure date gets closer and closer. Just as she is wishing that the day will finally come and she can fit in with everyone else, she experiences the first awakening of love.
I don’t want to say anymore because it really is a story that needs to be discovered word by word by the reader. Whereby reading you can let the sounds and the rhythm of the prose dance around on your tongue. It is poetic, powerful and moving. Delirium is not to be missed!
Thanks to Hodder for sending me the book to review.