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Delirium (Delirium Trilogy) Paperback – February 7, 2012
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Lauren Oliver’s Delirium Playlist
In Delirium, the government requires that all teenagers be cured of love, a.k.a. deliria, to keep society safe. But 95 days before her treatment, Lena Haloway falls for a boy--and must face the truth about her own feelings and the world in which she lives.
In this exclusive playlist, Lauren Oliver shares the songs that capture this haunting novel about the power of love and what one will risk in order to keep it.
Gayle Forman is is a self-described "perpetual teenager" and an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children. She is the author of Where She Went and If I Stay. Recently she sat down with Lauren Oliver to discuss their work. Read the resulting interview below, or turn the tables to see what happened when Lauren interviewed Gayle.
From Gayle Forman: Lauren Oliver is kind of mind-blowing. She wrote her intensely moving debut, Before I Fall when she was 26, which seems impossible given the book’s depth and wisdom. She followed up with the deliciously provocative love story Delirium, the first of a trilogy, and her first middle-grade book, Liesl & Po comes out in the fall of 2011. On top of that, she’s constantly cooking up book ideas for her literary development company. Somehow, she managed to slow down long enough for us to talk shop over lunch in our mutual hometown, Brooklyn.
Gayle: You have like 100 balls in the air. Are you one of those people who thrives on an insane amount of activity?
Lauren: I’ve been busy and overextended my whole life. I wrote half of Before I Fall while I had a full-time job, was a full-time grad student, and worked part-time in a nightclub. I wrote the first half of the book on my phone on the subway. I’d email the chapters to myself.
Gayle: You wrote the book on your phone?
Lauren: It’s very rare that I write on my computer. A lot of times I’m writing on subways or in the back of cabs or on airplanes. I know the exact quantity of lines on my BlackBerry and how it relates to word count.
Gayle: Well, that brings me right to my question about process. How does an idea become a book for you? How did Delirium arrive?
Lauren: I’d read an essay by Gabriel Garcia Marquez that said that all great books are either about death or love and I’d already written about death. And I started thinking that I’d never written a love story. It was out of my comfort zone. The next day I was at the gym, and the TV was on and the news report was all about the swine flu epidemic. It was the latest in the flu scares. And I thought it was so weird how easily people become panicked. You can convince people that anything is an epidemic. So much is propaganda. And the two ideas just combined in my head. And the character of Lena started narrating immediately.
Gayle: Moral of the story, budding writers: Go to the gym.
Lauren: Most of my breakthrough ideas come at the gym or while showering.
Gayle: Me too! And I’ll run out and start writing and be dripping in a towel.
Lauren: I’ve actually ruined computers that way. I think what happens is punctuated equilibrium: a period when changes are accumulating but not visibly, the simmering is happening. Then, when your mind is very relaxed, what was unconscious becomes conscious.
Gayle: On the surface, there’s a very big leap between your first two books. Before I Fall follows Sam, a prototypical mean girl who has to relive the last day of her life while Delirium follows Lena who lives in a creepy world in which love has been outlawed. But really, both of these girls start out conformists and challenge the constraints on their lives.
Lauren: Transformation is very important to me. I definitely am very interested in how people become who they are. In change. In characters who are damaged who and who feel initially unlovable—and in their redemption through feelings of love.
Gayle: Who are you more like, Lena or Sam?
Lauren: Sam is more similar to how I was in high school. I was rebellious. I went out and partied and did all the bad things that she did. Lena is just… she’s so obedient and so scared of doing anything wrong. I was so fond of her. I kind of loved her in this way, I felt so protective of her. She’s so fragile and also brave.
Gayle: That was exactly how I felt about Mia in If I Stay. I loved the strength of both Sam and Lena, in relation to their love interests. Even in Delirium, where Alex is the one who sparks Lena’s rebellion, she’s no damsel in distress.
Lauren: I don’t believe in damsels. That’s not a model of femininity or heroism I subscribe to. Everyone has to learn to save themselves. It can be through the mechanisms of loving other people but you have to learn to save yourself.
Gayle: Dystopian fiction is very hot right now. Did you have any idea you’d be on the cutting edge of this trend?
Lauren: I never heard that word when I wrote Delirium. I mean, I knew what it meant but not as a category. Delirium is supposed to be a meditation on love, what it does, good and bad. Because there have been times when if I could have reached inside to take out my own heart out, I would’ve. Books can’t come from categories; they come from a desire to say something about the world.
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Top Customer Reviews
But, as beautifully constructed the sentences may have been, they added up to a story that just didn't do it for me. I personally gravitate more toward the faster-paced books. I like to be grabbed by a story immediately. Delirium is definitely not a fast-paced book. At over four hundred pages and only the introductory part of a projected trilogy, the pacing of this story is, perhaps expectedly, sloooow. I felt every one of those 400+ pages.
The entire story follows Lena as she very gradually comes to terms with the realities of her dystopian world. This is to be expected. It is the first book in a dystopian trilogy, so naturally the first book is the "awakening" part of the story. It may just be me, but I often find these books boring. I want to get to the action! I want to see the main character fight against the dystopian society. I don't want to spend an entire book watching them hesitate back and forth between the-world-is-good/the-world-is-bad when I the reader already know the world is definitely bad (hey, it's a dystopian!).
Especially when they do this over the course of 400+ pages. Despite the fact that the writing is beautiful to read, I felt like screaming at Lena to figure it out already. There wasn't any question that Lena would eventually turn against her society (she has to; there would be nothing to write in the rest of the trilogy if she just went along with things), so it was especially frustrating to spend so much time reading about her indecision. I also had a hard time liking and connecting with Lena as a result of this.Read more ›
Warning: while reading this book you may experience severe reactions to amor deliria nervosa, also known as falling in love, something that's "cured" aka banned in Delirium's society. Side effects may include sleepless nights while reading Delirium, the inability to concentrate on anything else but reading this book, nervousness over what's going to happen to Lena & Alex, having your heart ripped out, sighing, finding yourself sitting on the edge of your seat, kissing your book, running out to pre-order PANDEMONIUM, petting the new beautiful cover, telling all your friends to go pick up this book, and of course falling helplessly in love with the brilliant, and breathtakingly beautiful writing of Lauren Oliver.
Can you imagine living in a society where LOVE is a disease?! I seriously loved the way Lauren created a fascinating society that "cures" love. Yes it may seem hilarious, but when you read DELIRIUM it totally makes sense. Lauren's writing is just awesome! It's richly detailed, it's poetic, captivating and I love that she really makes me think. Lauren is truly a gifted writer and I swear she could write a story about the most outlandish thing and make it credible. Here's a taste of Lauren's beautiful prose, which is also one of my favorite quotes from DELIRIUM:
Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you- sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in it's tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever. - pg 153
This is one of the many reasons why I adored Lena, the story's main protagonist.Read more ›
There are some books to which I have an almost visceral reaction, The Hunger Games being a good example of this. They pull me in right from the first page, and I feel as if I'm inhabiting the world of the characters. I love it when a book is so real, so richly drawn and textured that it seems like it's living and breathing on its own. Alas, I did not find this book to be that kind of book.
Oliver is a good writer, so I have no quibbles with that. Her prose is often lovely, and I enjoyed her descriptions. One of the problems with this book, though, is that there is a lot of writing, but very little is happening. I'm not opposed to slow books, and I typically enjoy the kind of fiction that is full of a character's reflections and thoughts, so that wasn't my problem. What was my problem is that I felt like there was so little growth, so little change. One moment Lena is very gung ho about the world in which she lives, and the next she isn't. Yes, there is a device that provides her impetus for leaping right over the edge, but I just didn't find it all that believable. I wanted to see some real growth, some serious evolution in Lena's thoughts about her world and how it was run, but I didn't find that.
I was very disappointed in the back story about Lena's mother. Lena has such wonderful, lovely memories of her mother--and that makes her extremely eager to get the "cure"? That just didn't add up for me. I understood that Lena was traumatized by what she witnessed as a child, that she was afraid of what love could do, but I just didn't see how someone who seemed to love and treasure the memory of her mother as Lena did could be so completely on board with what was about to happen to her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For the past sixty-four years, love was considered a disease which impaired reason and posed a threat to society. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Olivia McCloskey
A great book with lots of unexpected things. You can't guess what will happen next. Highly recommended!Published 8 days ago by Shelly Barren
Interesting story for sure. I would be willing to read the rest of the trilogy. In my personal opinion it wasn't quite as intriguing and other books of the same genera (Divergent,... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Marisa Black
A very enjoyable story with likeable characters, that makes you think of love in a world where it hasn't been allowed to be explored. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
I hate this book. Weirdest book I've ever read. It's like they are begging for it to be made into a movie so they can sell out. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Philip
Although, technically this is a romance novel and I don’t particularly care for romance novels, I wouldn’t classify it as romance first, rather dystopian. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Julayn