There are people who read a lot, there are people who don’t read at all unless they are required to and then there’s me (and probably a few others like me) who like to always have a book to read, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. I don’t spend every free moment reading a book but I do take advantage of the free time I have available. Since starting my new job about a month ago my reading volume has significantly increased because I now ride the train for two hours daily, which means a lot of dedicated reading time. I recently finished reading The Circle by Dave Eggers, which I started reading for two reasons, I enjoy modern science fictions books where most elements feel modern day, however, there are a few that bring to light technology that is the creation of pure imagination. Secondly, because this book is being turned into a movie starring goddess Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, later this year and I prefer to read the book before watching the movie adaption where I can.
I will split this review into a general overview and SPOILERS sections so that those who want to read the book/watch the movie can still do so without the plot and ending being ruined.
NO SPOILERS SECTION
The Circle by Dave Eggers follows Mae Holland who just landed a job at the biggest company on the planet, thanks to her best friend Annie. The Circle is an international company which draws parallels with Google due to its massive integration with everyday actions and business transactions and they have recently transformed the ways of e-commerce and social media to promote a more transparent way of living for businesses and consumers alike. Mae is more than thrilled to have left her small town utility job to work within this global machine. Due to their outnumbered sources of income, the physical premises includes everything you could think of for a small community and more and is completely free-of-charge for their employees. The Circle promotes transparency and connectivity amongst peers and colleagues and encourages employees to take advantage all that the campus (workplace) has to offer.
Mae herself isn’t a very dense character and in my opinion is more of a figurehead to showcase the wonders and ideas behind the Circle’s innovations to readers, since even though the book is about how the technology interferes with Mae’s life, family & friends, there is more of a strong focus on how the inventions actually impact everyday people, so that it easier to picture yourself and how you would interact and respond to them. Mae’s family consists of her mother and father and they are struggling quite a lot due to her father’s recent MS diagnosis. Her mother is constantly battling with health care providers to ensure her father’s safety and health, but is often most shafted by the system. Another major character is Mae’s ex-boyfriend, Mercer, who is a down to earth guy who treasures those he loves and doesn’t see the value in a lot of the technology that the Circle is introducing into society.
Now I can go into detail about every innovation they introduce in the book but that is part of the adventure of reading this one yourself. The general gist is that there are A LOT of them and they are the driving force within the book’s plot. The more that are released the more you question whether or not they are actually beneficial to society and whether or not they are completely tossing personal privacy out the window.
!!!!SPOILERS!!! DO NOT READ AHEAD IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE / READ THE BOOK
Starting out in this book is surreal, you are diving face first into the future of humanity and into this utopia that from my marketing degree background, gets me thinking of an equilibrium between businesses and individuals. BUT. IT. GOES. TOO. FAR. I think this is the point and I know that by about two-thirds in I was feeling very uncomfortable about actually liking this utopia. Privacy goes out the window. The safety of nations goes out the window. Mental health for students is disregarded. And a capitalist monopoly is born.
All the while shits starts to be revealed that maybe all this transparency is bad, Mae has no freaking clue and is just accepting every damn thing that the Circle releases, even when the health, wellbeing, and safety of her loved ones is compromised. She pretty much cuts ties with her family and disregards the well-being of her best friend. She denies the wishes of her ex-boyfriend and attempts to coerce him into being like her and adopting the life that the Circle promotes.
I will refrain myself from rambling on because there were a lot of elements that got a rise out of me while reading but I know that everyone will have a different stance on privacy, social media and the idea that transparency is good if you have nothing to hide.
What are your thoughts, do you think transparency is good for those who have nothing to hide or do you believe that whilst it is good to share with others online, choice and privacy are huge concerns that matter to the everyday individual?
Let me know in the comments down below.
P.S. I can’t wait to see the movie and kind of hope they change the ending.
Until next time,