The Circle – Dave Eggers – Review
Mae is beyond excited, she has been hired at the most sought after company in the world. She knows she has to prove herself and she is ready to do whatever is necessary to climb the ranks. The Circle is the leader in technology. Though as she gets deeper into the company Mae begins to understand the scary implications of the work they are doing. Will she fight back or will she succumb to the power of The Circle?
I thought the way the book goes into the power of brainwashing is fascinating. There wasn’t too much plot and the character development was minimal; what really drives this book is the reader watching as Mae falls deeper and deeper into this cult like atmosphere.
It is interesting because it starts off pretty benign. You see her beginning to think like the heads of the company want her to think. And as a reader you agree with some of the way they frame the new development. You agree that you want the world to be safer. But as an outsider you also are able to think deeply about what this new way of life could mean for the world itself.
I sat there reading thinking of how terrifying this whole process seemed. Mae questions things at first but she is quickly told to back off. She is manipulated by how she is given certain questions. She is told to think in one way and when she fights back they make her feel guilty. They twist every word she says and make her feel like she is in the wrong even though her concerns are valid.
I also thought the way the technology evolved was interesting. I read it wondering what they could possibly try to do next and it just got worse and worse. The scariest part is that this is all very possible. We let technology into every part of our lives and we think it is okay but this book shows how far it can go.
I was captured by the way the world is taken into the hands of this company and molded to who they want the world to be. As a reader you read hoping to take notes and know what to look for in case this becomes to close to reality.
I thought the plot itself was lacking a bit. Most of this story was about how the technology progresses and they get closer to closing the Circle. There is a lot of hearing about the new techniques.
Near the end you start to see hints of resistance. I wanted a bit more from this part thought. I also wanted to know more about the founders of the company. I thought they were too flat. I thought that if I understood them a bit more I could understand how this company began. I think deepening their characters would have made the reader feel a bit conflicted about how they see the world. We get hints of what they wanted with this company but I think if we got their POV too I would have had trouble damning their ideas.
I had a bit of an issue with Mae’s character. I felt she was to naive. She accepted everything quite quickly. While she did question things for a minute it wasn’t much.
There is one moment in the first few pages that made me wonder what was wrong with her. She is getting all her passwords and paperwork done on her first day. She is told to sign something but not to ask what it is. She doesn’t even question this idea. She just does it without a thought. I sat there wondering how you could ever sign something without knowing what you signing.
She also is given a new tablet and she is told to upload her personal computer to the new tablet. She is then told all her personal computer information is now in the company’s cloud. Again she doesn’t even think twice about this. How can you literally give all your personal information over to your work place without thinking about it? Work and personal should be separate but she just does it.
I had trouble understanding that anyone wouldn’t at least think this was weird. Now this could be because of the world itself but the world is set up to be much liker ours. I can’t see anyone I know not thinking this is strange and fighting it. This set Mae as too gullible and easy to manipulate too me. I wanted her to be a bit more of a fighter.
I also had an issue with her relationship. She kept going back to someone who was creepy. He taped them without her consent and then made her feel guilty for wanting him to delete it. She then was manipulated into agreeing with him through the system. I don’t blame her for this as much as the system and I thought this depiction was disturbing. I really didn’t like the relationship aspect in this story.
I have this book 3 stars. I enjoyed it I just thought it could have done with a bit more development of the side characters and a bit more focus on the actual plot.
“All that happens must be known” – pg. 68
“It was a kind of micro, but it was incomplete, distorted. And if Francis wanted any or all of that information, why couldn’t he just ask her?” – pg. 126 – This touched on the one time she fought the system but she quickly fell back into line. It also hints at a very problematic relationship.
“Now we’re all God.” pg. 398
“That the volume of information, of data, or judgements, of measurements, was too much, and there were too many people, and too many desires of too many people, and too many opinions of too many people, and too much pain from too many people, and having all it constantly collated, collected, added and aggregated, and presented to her as if that all made it tidier and more manageable – it was too much.” pg. 414