Reader Review: The Circle – Dave Eggers

The Circle: ★★★★

I recently went to visit a renowned bookstore due to hearing such good things about it and, whilst there, I stumbled across a single copy of ‘The Circle’. Despite never having seen the film, I’ve read a lot of good things about the book itself, so I grabbed the copy and bought it, not quite knowing what the hell I was in for. It was a ride, to say the very least – a ride that gave me a headache and a crisis all in one.

‘The Circle’ is an international company that, to put it simply, controls everything. It is the most powerful internet company – aiming to collate everybody’s online social details, profiles, and information into a single profile that, effectively, serves as the identity of the user. Though, as Mae experiences her new job at the company, weird experiences and occurrences seem to start happening more frequently and she finds herself caught up in something that she may’ve not been expecting when first accepting the job position.

From the first page, the world building, visualisation, and descriptions are immersive and evidently well written. It transports the reader straight into a mental state where they’re able to imagine the place where the situation is taking place and they’re able to envision how the situation would be if they were experiencing it themselves. Due to the fact that the scene and the environment is written in such a specific and detailed style – noting little elements within the larger picture – it makes the book immerse and interesting for the reader from the start. As the reader is able to follow what’s going on and they’re able to build up a certain image in their own mind, not only does it flow very easily and remains easy to follow, but the book ensures that it draws attention to the aspects that it would like to focus on.

The book is good in creating a distinctive tone and style which allows the audience to get a better idea of who the main character is. This is then heightened by the fact that the reader is able to get a good feel for the characterisation early on – her life, history, and thoughts are written in an exposed way which makes the audience feel more involved directly. This also helps her to feel more three dimensional and if she has a lot more depth, so I found this to be intriguing and prompted me to explore the protagonist and her situation more. The tone is well conveyed which allows the audience to experience the emotions as the character does – the scenes within the plot create certain environments and directly transport the readers there as it’s constructed in that kind of exposed way. You feel what Mae is feeling, and, in turn, this makes her feel a lot more developed.

One of the biggest things that I liked about the book is the fact that the premise has been constructed in a way that makes the audience think. The information is complex and riveting which makes the reader ask questions, but the book remains easy to follow and got lost into. Personally, due to the book making me question what I thought and what I knew, it unnerved me (and that’s definitely the intention of book and the plot). As the audience follows the storyline, you see how controlling the company is becoming and the effect that it has on the main character. It’s written in such a way that involves the audience to an extent where they feel uncomfortable themselves because it makes you compare the situation to reality and possibilities of what the future could hold. I thought of this concept becoming a reality in so much depth that it really did make me reconsider the current state of the world and where technology is going. I even wrote and published an opinion piece on it on the same day I finished reading it.

Though, when it came to the conclusion of the novel, the end didn’t really surprise me. I knew that she was going to follow through with it because that was the tone and the general idea that the book had built up – at least for myself personally. Along with this, the concept and the premise of the book has been introduced before. It’s not completely original – it’s a debated subject and has been done before. But that being said, I still think ‘The Circle’ was constructed very well.

To put it simply; I was expecting good things from this book, but I wasn’t quite expecting the near-breakdown I had. The writing is riveting, descriptive, and increasingly immerse and the character is so well-developed and conveyed that you’re able to experience the tone of the situations and the feelings she goes through. The concept is unnerving and scary and the book does an excellent job of getting that across to the audience.  It’s not perfect – the premise is not a new one – and the ending didn’t feel like it was supposed to take me off guard like it was meant to, but I still enjoyed it immensely.
Thanks for reading this short review and if you’re interested in the result of my overthinking due to this book, check out this post (it’s intense)!
I’ll write you later.

If you’re a fan of technology, the power that it has over people, and like to consider what the future might hold for the advancement of science and society, then pick up a copy of this book.

If you find yourself marathoning series of Black Mirror and then raving about the concepts and ideas involved because they’re closer to reality than you first realised, I definitely recommend that you read this book. I’m warning you in advance, though.

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