Book Impressions: The Circle by Dave Eggers


On Goodreads, I give 5 stars out of 5 to The Circle by Dave Eggers.

I’m excited The Circle will soon be a movie (2016?) starring Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and John Boyega. It will definitely translate well onto the big screen. The story will scare the living daylights out of you because it’s here, we’re living it. Transparency isn’t a crazy science fiction idea of the future. I alternately envy and scoff at people who have eschewed social media. They are so strong and so clueless. I want to slap them and then beg for their secret. I’ve been on Facebook since 2005. I’m entrenched! Save yourself!

Here’s my Goodreads review of The Circle:

The Circle is a tale of horror in that it can be a reality. Are we that far away from transparency and a world completely free of secrets? Are we so dependent on constant feedback and constant connectivity? The wide-spread addiction to the connected life is already in full swing. It’s only a matter of time.

I like The Circle by Dave Eggers because it has caused me to look closely at my own level of connectivity. Do I crave constant attention and constant feedback? Actually, no, I don’t. But I do like the feeling of community, of knowing what others are doing. I like the idea of accountability, of better healthcare, of less crime, of knowledge and learning. But how far is too far? Have we lost the ability to say, “enough is enough” or at least, “slow down, let’s think this through”? Have we lost the ability to enjoy our own company, alone, disconnected? Have we lost the ability to communicate with our mouths, our eyes, and our humanity? Almost, it seems.

The main character, Mae, starts out innocently enough. She’s normal, and she makes normal mistakes. After one serious mistake, her life changes, and she goes transparent. Once this happens, the story moves quickly into horror.

I have read a lot of dystopian fiction, and I’m always wondering what path the author will take. Will the book end with a sense of hope or a sense of hopelessness? I like it when they end in hope, but I know this isn’t always the realistic route. I want there to be hope; there should always be hope.

I actually don’t like Mae too much. She’s easily swayed and influenced. She is ready to conform. She becomes a monster, and her “watchers” become monsters too. I don’t want to be like Mae.

The idea of Utopia is popular. It always seems possible and such a good idea, but the very essence of our humanness makes the ideal world unsustainable. We humans must have leaders and followers; we must have discord to go with the harmony; we must have good and bad; we must have balance.

One thing I observed is that there isn’t much room or tolerance for people who are not mainstream learners or for the disabled. Everyone in the Circle is smart and eager and ready for that next breakthrough technology. When the circle is complete, what happens to those who don’t fit? What happens when they can’t or won’t conform or use the technology? Ask Mercer.

I like the juxtaposition of life at The Circle and life in the harbor, the harbor seals and the people on the barge, Mercer and Mae’s parents. The comparison between the two worlds in this book is frustratingly lopsided, but it’s there. And the similarities between the megalodon and the Circle are frightening.

There are no chapters. The Circle is broken down into 3 books. But with no chapters, there’s little rest. I don’t know if Eggers did this intentionally, but this format mimics the frantic, hectic, and non-stop existence at The Circle. There is no time to take a breath. Sleep is not a priority.

This book shook me up and made me drop my phone. I started looking for answers. The answer is balance and moderation. I hope it’s not too late.


Favorite Quotes

“You don’t own the news, even if it happens to you. You don’t own history. It’s part of the collective record now.”

“No one’s forcing you to do this. You willingly tie yourself to these leashes. And you willingly become utterly socially autistic. You no longer pick up on basic human communication clues. You’re at a table with three humans, all of whom are looking at you and trying to talk to you, and you’re staring at a screen, searching for strangers in Dubai.”

“Now we’re all God. Every one of us will soon be able to see, and cast judgment upon, every other. We’ll see what He sees. We’ll articulate His judgment. We’ll channel His wrath and deliver His forgiveness. On a constant and global level. All religion has been waiting for this, when every human is a direct and immediate messenger of God’s will.”


What do you think?

My Goodreads

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