Delirium: Book Review

Alec Higgins, Staff Writer

No love. None. It all happens with a simple procedure and then you’re suddenly “cured.” No longer do you have to worry about the possibilities of death from deliria, a disease that strikes the heart and spreads through your body like the rippling of water across a lake. It’s everything Lena can do to wait the remaining 95 days and counting before she can have her procedure completed and the worry removed forever. To live in a perfect society with no pain, no loss, and most of all, no fear. But at what cost? Is happiness only achieved when those things are removed? Will Lena truly be happy in the end or will something…someone change her mind?

Lauren Oliver’s follow-up novel to Before I Fall is making a terrific debut. Delirium, the first in a planned trilogy, is set in the future in a population that exists without pain or worry. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of this new society their procedure can only be properly administered after or very near their 18th birthday, which of course leaves room for error. With every possible precaution in place—separate gender-specific schools, curfews, chaperons, and more—the government does their best to safe guard its citizens. Not all make it to their 18th birthday, though. In Lena’s case, the worst possible thing happens. She falls in love or as it’s commonly called, she contracts “Deliria.”

So, first off, I loved the premise for this book. I’m a huge fan of dystopian novels and have been for some time. The idea of making something so incredibly basic, something each of us strives for, lives for even, and turning it back around on us its quite intense. This is a quote I found that goes along with the book wonderfully:  “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

It’s true. And so, to go so completely against that would sound incredibly absurd, but Oliver pulls it off. To the point that while reading this I was quite depressed thinking about the possibilities of this. Think of how it would be, a world without love. Would you want to live there? I wouldn’t. Yes, love has its problems, but it’s what makes us who we are. This is what you get to watch Lena go through throughout the rest of the book.

Lena’s transformation from someone who so adamantly opposes the idea of ever loving someone to someone who is head over heels in love, questioning everything she’s been taught, is what makes the book interesting. Unfortunately for me, it also made it incredibly dull after a while. After about 200 or so pages of her inner-monologue about whether or not she was doing the right thing, I started to go crazy! I was thinking, “Can we just get this over already?” I loved how she changed, I loved that she matured through her experiences, but I just wish it would have been a bit faster paced.

Delirium and its later sequels are sure to be successful. Though I had my problems with the middle section of the book I’m still quite eager to keep reading and discover what exactly happens to her and her incredibly charming boyfriend. Is her love doomed? Will she uncover more secrets? Who will she discover along the rest of this journey? These are some of the many questions I have for the rest of the books. I’m hoping that with Delirium ending with such a bang, the forward motion will continue, setting a quicker pace for the remaining two books.