Ok. Oh boy. Wow.
So. I finished The Circle on Wednesday (today is now late Friday/early Saturday) and I needed a little time to mull things over before writing about it. Typically, I read a book in 2-3 days, 5 at the most but reading this one took me twice as long and it wasn’t because of length (though it was a little on the long side) but because of content. The subject matter was tough for me. Here is my synopsis:
Mae Holland is a young twenty-something who is hired to work at the world’s most powerful internet company: The Circle (think Apple/Google/Facebook rolled into one). This company does everything with the ultimate goal of bringing every person into the network to “improve” products, social media, crime rates, leisure activities, health and wellness, etc., etc., etc. At first, being transparent and sharing information seem simple, but not everyone in Mae’s life agree and some risk their reputations or even stake their life on it. Will Mae back down and side with those she loves? Or will she stand up and do whatever it takes to see The Circle be complete?
So there you have it. In my opinion, this book could go in the horror genre. The idea of being watched and monitored all the time, and being required to vote and basically eat a certainly and fulfill a daily quota of social and health standards or what have you. There is a concept in the story called TruYouth where they propose implant chips in the bones of newborns to “prevent child abductions” but then obviously, the chip is permanent and then you are essentially tracked forever. The Circle wants to put cameras every to “track crime.” They want to put sensors in everything to “monitor product consumption and decrease waste.” Then your every move and stat is also public to every other person on the planet. What if someone doesn’t like that you decided not to finish your bowl of Cheerios? Or how you disciplined your child? Or how you accidentally ran a yellow light? Accidents happen. People have freedoms. But at the same time, we also tend to be critical of others. Mae, at one point, gets 43 frowns (and something like 26,000 smiles) and it eats away at her as to exactly WHO those few were who frowned at her. Honestly, this book seemed to me to be the prequel to every dystopian novel out there. This is how we end up destroying our society and ending up self-destructing. It just does not seem far-fetched to me.
As for the book itself, like I mentioned, I found it hard to read. I think the pacing was pretty difficult. There was a lot of mundaneness about Mae’s desk job and frowning and smiling and how many survey questions and this and that. I found Mae to be extremely frustrating, but I also found the contents of the book frustrating so I probably can’t totally blame Mae. The ending of the book was really “meh” for me. I had to read it twice to make sure I knew what was going on. So many things were extensively described and then all of a sudden….–plop–
Book soundtrack: “The Handler” by Muse