Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.
I was crazy excited for this book, which is a dystopian novel in which our future society develops a cure for amor deliria nervosa--love. Lena can't wait until her 18th birthday when she will be treated, and will never have to worry about the delusions and pain caused by the disease of love. She has a deeply personal reason to look forward to the cure, as her mother committed suicide because of love when Lena was only a child.
This book is incredibly fascinating. It very nearly convinces its readers that a world without love might actually be a better place (or at least, it nearly convinced me). And when love is defined by romance only, I do agree with Oliver's fictional government that a lot of the world's problems could be avoided if it were eradicated. But then the full implications of a life without love were shown, in which parents must read books on how to properly raise their children without parental love, and friendship is unnecessary, and hobbies and passions no longer exist.
What a horrible, dull world. Oliver does an excellent job creating a believable future as well as a believable protagonist. Lena's journey to rebellion is rightfully slow and marked by some regressions. Because let's face it, a world without heartache is a tempting possibility.
My only disappointment was, ironically, with the love story portrayed in Delirium. It seemed to me that Lena's romance proved the ridiculousness of love, with melodramatic emotions about rather dying than being without him (a boy she's only known for a couple months). Maybe I'm a cynic, but I would have preferred that Lena's rebellion had focused on all the society's flaws instead of being driven primarily by infatuated love.
Perhaps all the other issues will be the focus of the sequel, because MAN, does this book end on a cliffhanger. Write fast, Lauren Oliver!
Four out of five Books of Shhh
Release Date: February 2011
Reading Level: Grade 9+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: YPL OLI