For me, this was a hard book to listen to. Not because it’s badly made, but because of my already existing anxieties about social media and our current system of online world. I found myself agitated and on a verge of stopping listening to the book frequently. That is a reason for me to lift my top hat and bow to the writer. Dave Eggers has created a working horror novel. And yes, I know it isn’t listed under horror, but for me, humans and what they create are scarier than any monster from the deep dark abyss.
The youthful site of Circle, ignorance of the real world and human condition, the arrogance of knowing better, and compulsion to be like made me want to scream. I hated Mae (the protagonist), a wide-eyed naive girl who went along with everything and was a passive observer letting others play her. I understand why Eggers made her like that, to drive in the point he wanted to make about how pressure, the normality of your surroundings, and need to be loved can make you go along even when you should open your eyes and decide yourself.
I wanted to trash this book, say don’t read it, but I can’t. It is simply made, straightforward, its characters are stupid, naïve, and irritating, and it doesn’t leave readers an opportunity to think for themselves which is a bad thing and made me frustrated often. Despite all this, it has a point to make. It sums up the modern world and tries to warn us about the power mega corporations hold with their access to our privacy. This book bashes the youthful innocence and excitement and how their blind ideologies combined with online power can be harmful. Eggers wants to remind us how experience, understanding, and wisdom entwined with empathy is needed. That we can’t go on with online popularity, that is not how you build up the world.
I think this is one of those books that work better when you listen to it. Then you get the full social experience that audiobook provokes (reading has its own advantages!) The Circle isn’t the greatest book out there, but it has a pre-chewed roundup power, and even if you hate it at least stop to think the points it’s making.