March 21, 2012

Book #29 - Delirium (Delirium #1)

Delirium (Delirium #1), Lauren Oliver
441 pages
Started 3/10/12
Finished 3/11/12

This is a really beautiful book that explores all that it means to "love." It takes place in future Portland, OR, when love has been classified as a deadly disease and the government has made it mandatory that all citizens have a labotomy when they turn 18 to rid themselves of feelings of love. The government pegs this procedure as life-saving, and citizens are brought up to believe that loving is a horrible, disgusting thing that should never be experienced. Girls and boys are segregated, much the way blacks and whites were in the 50s and 60s. And, this is the story of a girl who falls in love with a boy mere months before her scheduled operation and the hope - and hopelessnes - of that in a world such as this.

Initially, the only kind of love I was thinking about these characters going without is the romantic kind of love. And, true, sometimes that kind of love hurts in terrible ways. Sometimes people do kill themselves or others out of strange, twisted versions of this kind of love. But, it's also joyful and wonderful and exciting - there's nothing like it. And, to be ordered to have the capacity to love that way removed from me would leave me with feelings of violation so great, I can't even fathom it.

But, that's not the only kind of way that we love. I love my children totally and unconditionally. I love my parents. When I had cats, I loved them too, in a way. I love to read, take pictures and each chocolate. Can you imagine not loving ANYTHING - that everything is just lukewarm? It seems robotic, calculated, boring, depressing. Without the capacity to experience love, you lose the ability to feel anything extreme. Without love, how can you know what sadness is? Or excitement? Or joy? The only emotion you would know without a shadow of a doubt in this world would be fear, and it's obvious that is what Oliver's version of our country and our government is going for. If people are fearful, they can be more easily controlled.

I can't wait to see what happens in Lena's and Alex's continuing story. I hope they find a way to live with their love for each other.

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