Book Review: The Circle by Dave Eggers

Release Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback
Pages: 514 pages
Genre: Fiction/Dystopian/sci fi
Buy: Paperback | Kindle


When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.


It almost feels creepy writing a review on a blog about this book.  This is a scary peek into where we are heading if we don't get a handle on technology.  I could relate to so much of what was in this book and not all of it in a good way.  The need people have for immediate feedback, the strive to be in the top percent of bloggers, posters, reviewers... When does technology become a hindrance to life and not a positive enhancement?

Watching the visit to Philadelphia a few years ago by the Pope you could see the hundreds of clergy holding up their phones video taping the Pope walking into the cathedral to give a sermon - no one was actually fully participating.  Going out to dinner you see few young people talking they are sitting there playing on their phones (I am guilty of this occasionally too) We are starting to live our lives through our screens and not actually living our lives.  Everything is snapped, posted and shared with the world. We are forgetting how to interact.

This book read almost like a cautionary tale. The stress of keeping up with twitter feeds, tumblr, facebook, posts, instagram, snapchat, litsy, google+, blogs, podcasts, can be overwhelming and quite frankly I've given up trying. I catch up when I can but don't feel the pressure to keep up.  I'm interested to see how the movie turns out, if it follows the book or has its own agenda.

So read this book, then go out and enjoy the sunshine, or the snow, or the rain or whatever the weather happens to be doing at the moment. Put your phone down while you have dinner with your family and enjoy some screen free time. You are worth it.