The Circle by Dave Eggers (2013)
Main Character: Mae Holland
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Suspense: 3 out of 5 stars
Overall: 2 out of 5 stars
When Mae Holland lands her dream job at the most well known internet company in America, she cannot wait for everything to become perfect. Life inside the walls of The Circle is amazing. They have concerts and parties every night, dorms for employees to rent, gyms, clubs, free health care, trial stores, anything you could ever imagine under one roof. Everything is modern. To work for The Circle is a great honor, not everyone is ready for the amount of involvement in the company.
Mae’s friend Annie is a workaholic. She spends every waking moment traveling, planning and working with some of the higher ups to create new exciting investments. But is there more to the Circle than the fancy gadgets and organic gardens? Just how far will Mae be willing to go before her life gets revealed to the world?
A little background to give you more of an understanding about why I gave this book such a low rating:
As I sat in the darkened theater waiting for the movie to begin, I realized I was going to be by myself. My boyfriend had decided to go see another movie so I figured I’d watch The Circle starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and apparently some other very well known actors. This book is all about sharing. Sharing experiences, sharing recommendations, sharing what you can to those who are unable to experience these things for themselves.
However, the overall theme of sharing is very subtle. To really understand this book we must first dive into the real world.
Ready? Let’s do this.
When MySpace hit the internet several years back, it was a way to communicate with friends, classmates, people you don’t normally talk to on a regular basis. (Who remembers their profiles with names like ~*~pReTtYpRiNcEsS0812~*~ and creating mystery around your crush by saying “not telling!! ;)”.) As more and more people get involved with social media, (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) we are able to communicate not just with our friends, but complete strangers and in some instances celebrities. Now, with smartphones, tablets, etc, we are able to literally capture any moment and post it onto our profiles so anyone can view it.
This is what The Circle is all about. Sounds like a great story, right? Yeah, I agree. Now, I’m not a huge fan of social media. You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and that’s about it. I don’t update Twitter very much, and Facebook is just a way to keep in touch with friends from out of town (and manage my blogging) but other than that, I don’t really need to be on my phone 24/7.
The longer Mae stayed working in The Circle, she ended up with a total of three computer monitors, one tablet, one phone, one portable health monitor and a micro-camera that allowed everyone to watch her at any time of day (even in the bathroom, but without sound!). After a freak accident, she discovers that she had been selfish by not sharing her activities with her fellow Circlers. She ended up being in the top 1,000 people to follow by the end of the novel (and the movie, although the events were different).
The one thing I hated most about this book was the lack of chapter breaks. It took me until I was half way through before I realized that they were missing. After the realization, it actually became harder and harder for me to continue reading. The second thing was every single worker who Mae stumbled upon during her time at The Circle. I understand that it is important to ask questions when starting a new job; but is it really necessary for your coworkers to constantly ask if you understand what they are explaining at the end of every paragraph? Seasoned workers, whom she had previously worked with still asked if she was okay or if she understood what they were asking of her. After several weeks of working, she was still being asked “Do you understand?” or “Is that okay?” It was just getting frustrating!
Okay, enough rambling. I was really hoping to enjoy this book. The movie made the idea of becoming “transparent” as they called it, both amazing and of course, difficult for the people around you. At the same time, the message was confusing. We knew Mae enjoyed being transparent, but it affected her so negatively that I was left wondering why she was still willing to stay in the company.
Being alone in the theater for the first time made me appreciate being able to do my own thing once in a while and be selfish. It’s okay to be selfish once in a while! We all deserve privacy!
This is one of those instances where the movie was actually better than the book. It seemed like they took all the good scenes out and used them in the movie (I know they do that anyway, but here it was really obvious) so, who knows. To be fair, I actually DNF’d it when I was bout three quarters of the way through and skimmed the rest to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important (I wasn’t).
However, if you did like the book, let me know why. I’m curious if anyone had the same reaction to the “transparency” of social media.
If you’d like, I have links in my reviews to my own social medias if you would like to send a comment!
I forgot to include a link to the Official Trailer for the movie that came out at the beginning of May, 2017. Enjoy!