Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

deliriumI am a sucker for a good dystopian story and the premise of Delirium by Lauren Oliver pretty much had me at hello:

THEY SAY that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now.

Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected
with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Besides being a beautifully written love story, Delirium is also a fascinating look at love, society, the importance of choice and so much more. It was really fascinating to me to read Lena, the main character, describe the disease love, or deliria, and the symptoms and struggles associated with it.

Lena grows up terrified of love, her life having been pretty much ruined by it at a young age. In the beginning of this story, she is literally counting down the days until she will be old enough to get the procedure that will cure her and keep her safe. She truly believes that her society has her best interest at heart and that love must be avoided at all costs. She recalls stories she has heard of people who became infected with deliria – loss of appetite, reduced mental awareness, hysterical laughter, periods of despair… insomnia, difficulty breathing, paranoia, erratic behavior, death… These are just some of the symptoms of deliria, of love. Lena’s society has found that all the struggles of the world – war, mental disorders, eating disorders, violence, crime – that it is all the result of deliria and that by curing this disease, we will finally be safe and happy.

It was really interesting to view Lena’s world through different lights as the story progresses. The way she feels about love, what she thinks of her society and what those symptoms of deliria really look like and mean. As Lena finds love for the first time, she slowly begins to understand that love is not a disease but a gift worth fighting for. She starts to realize all of the things that her society has taken away from people when they took away love.

I think the really fascinating thing was that I, as a reader, was totally able to see all of this happening. I look back on old heartbreaks and I think, in my lowest of low moments, if somebody had offered me a cure, a way to never feel these heartbreaks again – I might have taken it, might have jumped at the chance. Anyone who has ever felt love and then lost that love can understand how a person would want to be cured sometimes. Delirium really shows you what that world would look like – a world without love, for better or worse. It shows you all the things that would be better, but also all of the things that would be much, much worse.

I am struggling to not give away too much of the plot, so I will stop here and simply say that I really loved this book and I’m very much looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy, Pandemonium.

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