Guess what, Dave Eggert? I DON’T NEED MORE THINGS TO BE TERRIFIED OF. I’m already alarmed by everything including clowns and static cling, you don’t have to ruin the internet for me too. And the thing is… as a card carrying member of Introverts Unite But Separately In Our Own Homes… we need the internet. We need it to experience things that don’t happen to be in our living rooms. When you take Google and throw in podcasts, Kindles and iPads you have effectively named almost everything I love. I’m not proud of this, but it is true, so I really don’t need books like The Circle making me feel more afraid of the eventual and inevitable virtual totalitarian takeover, because that’s already happened in my head a bunch of times, okay?
Anywho… I’ve been meaning to read The Circle for a while because I love Dave Eggers passionately and then they went and made the movie with Hermione, so I wanted to read it before I see it in order to complain importantly about how much better the book is, as per uzz. I already know that big brother is watching, I know how often my ex-boyfriend is looking at my LinkedIn page (A lot – I think he thinks he’s private. Bless.) And how many people read my tweets (not enough, how is that possible? I’m hilarious) and yes, I get a notification every time someone double taps and likes my Instagram pictures by mistake while trying to enlarge them. And I genuinely hate when I get in my car to leave work at night and my phone says “35 minutes to home” because you don’t know that I have no plans, iPhone!!!! Except it has access to my calendar, so it totally does know that I have no plans. I guess privacy is kind of a joke already
The Circle is basically SuperGoogleFacebookTwitter, the world’s most powerful (and basically last standing) internet company. The Circle links everything – all social media, buying, banking, communication tools, etc – into one system. Mae, our bright young hopeful, has just been hired here and she couldn’t be happier. The first half of this book is pretty fun as we go through all the technology that The Circle has capitalized on, and the incredible sprawling campus with never ending activities, food and fun. From an HR perspective, it’s pretty over the top, and all it requires in return is, of course, every employee’s complete loyalty and devotion and zero questions asked. It’s similar to the Trump administration in that way.
As Mae gets settled in she is completely sucked into all that The Circle can provide, most notably, that they provide health insurance for her family, which changes her parents lives as her father suffers from a debilitating illness. She is thriving at The Circle except that even with everything she is doing, it is just not enough participation for the culture. It is frowned upon to even leave campus basically – they provide never ending food and even dorms, so 20 hour days are the norm here. It’s your basic work/life balance nightmare here but Mae falls for it. (Tip: when your company buys you meals, it is only to encourage you not to leave the office… keep eating, here’s pizza.) So Mae begins to give her life over totally to the company and lose herself in the process. Mae’s perspective starts off basically normal if naïve and as the story goes on she loses it, little by little. I would say that the first half of the book is fun and the second half is frustrating and a bit annoying. The ending is both outrageous and totally plausible. I’m definitely going to see the movie.
The Circle – Grade B