THE CIRCLE explores the problem of oversharing in social media. The Circle is a large internet provider that requires honesty in it’s users. There are no pseudonyms, only one form of identity, and fraud is a thing of the past. The internet company branches out to encourage its uses to become transparent, broadcasting everything they do and say with a wearable camera. What starts as a great idea for government officials to gain the public trust, becomes the social norm for members of the Circle. Mae is a new employee of the the Circle. She quickly works her way up the ladder to become one of the most influential Circlers with personal relationships with all three founders.
Secrets are Lies
Sharing is Caring
Privacy is Theft
I enjoyed this story, for the most part. Mae is a like a blank slate and therefore I projected a lot of how I was feeling about everything onto her. She has so much happen to her throughout the course of this story. She starts off not knowing anything about the Circle, and she ends up being one of the main influences. The thing about Mae that frustrated me is that she believes everything she told. The side characters are really one dimensional. We don’t get to know anyone other than Mae well enough to make an informed opinion of them. She is not the hero protagonist I needed. Mae abandons a lot of my own principles to rise up in the ranks. She also does this thing where she latches on to any guy who pays attention to her.
The world that Mae is part of starts off pretty innocent and optimistic. I would probably want to be part of the Circle too if I lived in that world. Ending internet fraud and having people who need to know, like doctors, become capable of accessing necessary information quickly sounds pretty brilliant. It quickly becomes this monster of information sharing that controls what is being fed to the public. The Circle starts to look like a scary concept when being online is mandatory, and sharing of everything is required.
I have to admit the pacing in the writing was a bit off. There are three parts of this story. The second part things dragged a bit and we start to see how dangerous things are becoming. There was a lot of questionable actions on the part of Mae at this point in the story, but the whole world was watching her and “smiling” a her actions. That egotistical need drives Mae. Honestly, the need drives a lot of us. So who’s to say what we would do in that situation? I did enjoy this story, mostly because it got me really thinking about sharing information. How much is too much?
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on October 8th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Thrillers, Technological, Dystopian
eBook provided by The Library
The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, best-selling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.
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.