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Delirium by Lauren Oliver

June 15, 2011

Delirium– Lauren Oliver

HarperTeen, February 2011
Set in an alternate (future?) America, this dystopian fiction sets up the idea that love is a disease, amor deliria, and it is eradicated completely and scientifically. Teenagers have “the procedure” and then go on to lead placid lives, paired with their ideal mate, peacefully, in a world free of crime… and a world free of passion. There’s a definite whiff of The Handmaid’s Tale going on here, in the dystopian setting that curtails everything about desire and love as “unnatural.” But… it’s not as skewed towards stifling women, maybe. Since both genders get the procedure.
It also reminded me of a short scifi story I’d been trying to remember: “A Defense of Social Contracts” by Martha Soukoup. I read it in Nebula Awards 30, ages ago.
Though she’s trying to behave and wait for her procedure when everything will be okay, Lena (short for Magdalena, a nice touch) knows that her mother’s procedure didn’t work… so she’s grown up under scrutiny, in case she turns out as “crazy” or rebellious as her mother.
The driving force of the book is, of course, things Not Going As Planned By The Carefully Ordered Society, and Lena finding herself in the center of the upheaval. As well-plotted as this adventure was– I’m having trouble imagining what will show up in the sequel.

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