I met Lauren Oliver at her signing event in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month and I have to say, she is a remarkable person whose "voice" is SO clear in her books. Lauren sounds, in person, just like her book read. She's funny, thought provoking and insightful. I loved every minute of her event, especially getting to hear her read from Delirium. I would like to believe that hearing the words from the mouth of their creator made Lena's voice that much clearer and real for me. If you ever get the chance to go to one of Lauren's signings/events- GO! You will be glad you did! She is so real and just generally awesome. She doesn't get snarky and borderline rude when answering questions. I want to believe that that is just the way she is and not merely that she hasn't been around as along as some YA authors. Her answers to questions were heartfelt and thought out but she was honest when she didn't have an answer to give. You can find out more about Lauren and her books on her Website, on Twitter and on Facebook. Delirium is Lauren's second book. Her debut novel, Before I Fall, was released last year to great acclaim. Delirium is the first book in a trilogy, Pandemonium will be the second book- due out early in 2012.
The world of Delirium is both familiar and strange. It felt so weird to think of love as a disease that you could catch or to know that the government would pick your spouse for you and tell you how many kids to have. To most of us, that world seems very unreal. But the truth is that there are places in the world where how many kids you have is the government's business. Where you live in fear that something you say could get you killed. Government can and sometimes does become that controlling so it isn't so far fetched to think of a place like the one where Lena lives existing in the not so distant future. In this world, Love or the Deliria, as they call it, can be cured with a simple procedure that every citizen gets at the age of 18. At first, Lena wants nothing more than to be cured so that she can be matched with her mate and get on with her adult life. But in the 95 days before her procedure is scheduled to occur, she does something that she NEVER wanted/expected to do, she falls in love with Alex. I have to say that I find Lena a little annoying because she's so anti-love at first but it is GREAT to see her learn and grow and really start to question the world she lives in. Alex is a great guy and a great character who really embodies love as an emotion that we humans need to have to function properly- not love as a disease (which admit it, sounds freaking creepy!). The thing that stuck out to me about the love as a disease scenario (and the news clip that Lauren says fed into this idea around the time that she wrote Delirium) is that humans are primates. Social animals. We need to have strong emotional ties to others to be happy and to function in society. Oddly enough, elephants are this way too. If an elephant is separated from their herd, they will freak out and do anything to get to the others. Elephants need the feelings of safety and contentment that they feel in the herd to be able to function normally. A point my husband brought up is that parents MUST love their kids or something WILL happen to the children. If you didn't love your children, would you take proper care of them? I would think not- honestly. Civilization and primate infant rearing require a serious vested interest in the infant or you'd be just like a number of animals that give birth and hope that the offspring make it. Mammals in general care for young because they MUST. To have a strong new generation, you need to bond with the baby and care about feeding it. A mammal baby would not do well without milk. Basically, to sum up my biology jibber jabber, it seems really unlikely to me that this society would work for very long- even with brain washing everyone with a book of rules on behavior and parenting. So I wonder how long they have lasted this way and when the system will, inevitably fail. I also wonder if the government truly beleives Love is a disease or if it is all a method of control to them.
Delirium was an amazing book that really made me think. The characters are real and likable. The entire book was outstanding and interesting. My only issue was the killer ending. Were trying to give me a panic attack, Lauren Oliver? But the cliffhanger ending only served to make me want to continue with Pandemonium. I would recommend this for older teens and up due to the dystopian nature of the book. If I, at 28 and a college grad, get headaches trying to deal with the politics of it- a 13 year old shouldn't be able to get it either. (And if they do, don't tell me. You'll only make me feel worse!) The cover is also WAY prettier in person- no photo can really do it justice. Go read Delirium now, people! You'll be glad you did!
Delirium earns 4 Fairies for a heart wrenching story about love.