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The Circle Paperback – April 22, 2014
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“A vivid, roaring dissent to the companies that have coaxed us to disgorge every thought and action onto the Web . . . Carries the potential to change how the world views its addicted, compliant thrall to all things digital. If you work in Silicon Valley, or just care about what goes on there, you need to pay attention.”
—Dennis K. Berman, The Wall Street Journal
“Fascinating . . . Eggers appears to run on pure adrenaline, and has as many ideas pouring out of him as the entrepreneurs pitching their inventions in The Circle . . . [A] novel of ideas . . . about the social construction and deconstruction of privacy, and about the increasing corporate ownership of privacy, and about the effects such ownership may have on the nature of Western democracy . . . Like Melville’s Pequod and Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel, the Circle is a combination of physical container, financial system, spiritual state, and dramatis personae, intended to represent America, or at least a powerful segment of it . . . The Circlers’ social etiquette is as finely calibrated as anything in Jane Austen . . . Eggers treats his material with admirable inventiveness and gusto . . . the language ripples and morphs . . . It’s an entertainment, but a challenging one.”
—Margaret Atwood, The New York Review of Books
“A parable about the perils of life in a digital age in which our personal data is increasingly collected, sifted and monetized, an age of surveillance and Big Data, in which privacy is obsolete, and Maoist collectivism is the order of the day. Using his fluent prose and instinctive storytelling gifts, Mr. Eggers does a nimble, and sometimes very funny, job of sending up technophiles’ naïveté, self-interest and misguided idealism. As the artist and computer scientist Jaron Lanier has done in several groundbreaking nonfiction books, Mr. Eggers reminds us how digital utopianism can lead to the datafication of our daily lives, how a belief in the wisdom of the crowd can lead to mob rule, how the embrace of ‘the hive mind’ can lead to a diminution of the individual. The adventures of Mr. Eggers’s heroine, Mae Holland, an ambitious new hire at the company, provide an object lesson in the dangers of drinking the Silicon Valley Kool-Aid and becoming a full-time digital ninja . . . Never less than entertaining . . . Eggers is such an engaging, tactile writer that the reader happily follows him wherever he’s going . . . A fun and inventive read.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“The particular charm and power of Eggers’s book . . . could be described as ‘topical’ or ‘timely,’ though those pedestrian words do not nearly capture its imaginative vision . . . Simply a great story, with a fascinating protagonist, sharply drawn supporting characters and an exciting, unpredictable plot . . . As scary as the story’s implications will be to some readers, the reading experience is pure pleasure.”
—Hugo Lindgren, The New York Times Magazine
“Eggers is a literary polymath . . . The Circle is funny in its skewering of Internet culture. Holland obsessively tallies the reach of her Twitter-like Zings and enthuses about a benefit for needy children that raises not money but 2.3 million ‘smiles’ (think Facebook ‘likes’). The Circle's buildings are named for epochs, so at her first party Holland gets her wine from the Industrial Revolution . . . The ideas behind "The Circle" are compelling and deeply contemporary. Holland is an everywoman, a twentysomething believer in Internet culture untroubled by the massive centralization and monetization of information, ubiquitous video surveillance and corporate invasions of privacy. Compare that to A Hologram for the King, in which a middle-aged man thoughtfully but powerlessly observes America's economic decline, realizing that his efforts to participate in globalization led to his own obsolescence. The two books together are saying something foreboding about America's place in the world: We have traded making physical things for a glossy, meaningless online culture that leaves us vulnerable to those who see that information — in the form of data, video feeds, or our own consumer desires — is power.”
—Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
“You can’t really write a 1984 for our times, because 1984 is still the 1984 of our times. But one could think of Dave Eggers’ . . . new novel The Circle as a timely and potent appendix to it. The crux of The Circle is that Big Brother is still haunting us, but in an incarnation that’s both more genial and more insidious. We have met Big Brother, and he is us . . . In The Circle Eggers has set his style and pace to technothriller: the writing is brisk and spare and efficient . . . When I finished The Circle I felt a heightened awareness of social media and the way it’s remaking our world into a living hell of constant and universal mutual observation.”
—Lev Grossman, Time
“You may find yourself so engrossed in Dave Eggers's futuristic novel, The Circle, that you forget about Facebook entirely. And by the last pages, you may think twice before logging on again.”
—John Freeman, O, The Oprah Magazine
“Bravely, audaciously . . . [Eggers] takes on the online world in The Circle, a provocative novel named for the world’s most powerful Internet firm. Set in the not-so-distant future, the novel is part satire, part corporate thriller. But mostly it’s a cautionary tale about threats to privacy, freedom and democracy.”
—Bob Minsesheimer, USA Today
“Page-turning. . . . The social message of the novel is clear, but Eggers expertly weaves it into an elegantly told, compulsively readable parable for the 21st century. . . . What may be the most haunting discovery about The Circle, however, is readers’ recognition that they share the same technology-driven mentality that brings the novel’s characters to the brink of dysfunction. We too want to know everything by watching, monitoring, commenting, and interacting, and the force of Eggers’s richly allusive prose lies in his ability to expose the potential hazards of that impulse.”
—Laura Christensen, Vanity Fair
“In this taut, claustrophobic corporate thriller, Eggers comes down hard on the culture of digital over-sharing, creating a very-near-future dystopia in which all that is not forbidden is required. . . . Eggers has a keen eye for context, and the great strength of The Circle lies in its observations about the way instant, asynchronous communication has damaged our personal relationships. . . . A speculative morality tale in the vein of George Orwell . . . We go on using the social media platforms that have been used against us; we post geo-tagged photos that could lead potential criminals straight to our private homes and our children's preschools, and we do all of this with full knowledge of the possible consequences. We have closed our eyes and given our consent. Everyone else is doing it. In the digital age, it is better to be unsafe than to be left out.”
—G. Willow Wilson, San Francisco Chronicle
“Eggers surveys our privacy-annihilating, social media-infested world, recoils in horror at the inevitable consequences, and unleashes a primal scream: Enough! Stop! Stop liking and sharing and tweeting and texting! Stop it all! Readers who share Eggers’ concerns about the Facebook-opticon, the surveillance state that leaves no shred of daily life unscrutinized, this superficial, hollow sense of community spaned by digital connectivity will flock to stand before this brave rallying flag. . . . The world that the Circle is delivering to the online masses is very much our world. This isn’t science fiction . . . We need a legion of Dave Eggers in the world today, calling out the dangers.”
—Andrew Leonard, Salon
“Eggers’s works pulse with life . . . The Circle pushes his art even further . . . Eggers’s work, part dark comedy, part sobering glimpse into the near-future, stuns for two reasons: Mae’s humanity and compassion are apparent even as she helps erode our civil liberties; and two, it doesn’t feel like science fiction. It feels like the next horrific—but very plausible—small step for mankind.”
—Josh Davis, Time Out New York, five stars
“You can’t read The Circle, Dave Eggers’s novel about a powerful internet company, and not recognize the book’s dystopian vision in our own obsessions with sharing and social media. The novel, set in the near future, is an engaging mix of social satire and cautionary tale . . . captures the perils of the internet — and, in particular, the over-the-top utopianism sometimes espoused by technology executives — more than any other novel of recent years . . . both hilarious and foreboding.”
—Allan Hoffman, The New Jersey Star-Ledger
“Ripped from recent headlines about privacy, technology and social media . . . A book that begins as a lighthearted cautionary tale grows into a claustrophobic portrait of relentless effort to achieve the culmination of ‘closing the Circle.’”
—Richard Galant, CNN
“Entertaining . . . A sense of horror finally arrives near the end of the book, coming . . . through the power of Eggers’s writing . . . The final scene is chilling.”
—Ellen Ullman, The New York Times Book Review
“Gripping . . . Set in the not-too-distant future, Eggers' story takes us inside a shiny-happy California-based media corporation called the Circle . . . a compelling exploration of how individuals excitedly opt into a corporately-controlled culture of complete surveillance billed as a ‘community,’ transforming ‘privacy’ into a quaint notion possessed only by the nostalgic . . . The Circle's brilliance lies in convincingly taking us inside an extreme vision of what is nascent in the 21st century cyber-utopianism we all endorse, showing us how the visions of digital media moguls are championed and propagated by an overly-willing society . . . Eggers creates for us a surprisingly contemporary world that seems strangely familiar to regular social media users — a world into which all of us excitedly join without much prompting.”
—Rob Williams, PolicyMic
“What fuels this novel is its thunderbolt of an idea: digital culture is suffocating us and, what’s more, is doing so under the duplicitous guise of widespread human beneficence . . . This is a novel about the silence inside your head . . . a powerful argument for turning off your iPhone and going for a walk.”
—Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek
“Dave Eggers is fast becoming one of our fiercest and most compelling writers on the dark side of technology. [The Circle] is a gripping and highly unsettling read.”
—Edmund Gordon, The Sunday Times (UK)
“It has taken Eggers the 13 years since his breakout memoir to give us a book that truly matched A Heartbreaking Work’s gravitas — but with The Circle, Eggers has given us everything . . . when you put down the book and go to check your email, you might just realize that we are living the fiction . . . [The Circle] takes place before a fall that we might really be approaching, and it’s this compelling sense of impending, unpredictable doom that makes this work of fiction feel very real, and very necessary.”
—Jason Diamond, Flavorwire
“Dave Eggers’ real heartbreaking work of staggering genius might be this one. The Circle is today’s version of dystopian classics such as George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Eggers’ novel is terrifying, funny, real, suspenseful and visionary . . . Always keeping the focus on Mae, Eggers brings up all the Big Brother issues of our time: privacy, democracy, memory, history and the quality of how we’re connecting.”
—Holly Silva, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Eggers has updated Orwell’s vision by inverting it. In 1984, the members of the Party are watched by Big Brother; in The Circle, it is the people who watch the government . . . Perhaps our need for privacy will erode as technology continues to develop and the world continues to change. Or perhaps humans will still occasionally cling to the need for privacy simply because it is an essential quality of being ‘human.’ Either way, the fact that these questions linger long after finishing this book is a testament to the multiple layers and potential lasting impact of The Circle.”
—Karl Hendricks, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“The Circle is a deft modern synthesis of Swiftian wit with Orwellian prognostication . . . a work so germane to our times that it may well come to be considered as the most on-the-money satirical commentary on the early internet age . . . The pages are full of clever, plausible, unnerving ideas that I suspect are being developed right now . . . The book is also very funny . . . A prescient, important and enjoyable book, and what I love most about The Circle is that it is telling us so much about the impact of the computer age on human beings in the only form that can do so with the requisite wit, interiority and profundity: the novel.”
—Edward Docx, The Guardian (UK)
“Eggers’s past work has tackled sociopolitical issues such as the justice system, Sudanese refugees, and the plight of public school educators. The Circle gives him a new soapbox, and if he can convince a mass audience that Google is even a little bit evil, he’ll have produced some of the most subversive commercial fiction ever written. The novel is a pro-privacy, antitech manifesto masquerading as a Dan Brown thriller. It’s Evgeny Morozov dressed in John Grisham’s clothing.”
—Seth Stevenson, Bloomberg Businessweek
“Step away from whatever tweet you’re composing for your 484 followers. Don’t click “like” on that Facebook photo of a friend’s kids. Dave Eggers’ chilling and enormously absorbing new novel The Circle, about encroaching tentacles of the world’s most powerful Internet company, demands your thoughtful and committed attention.”
—Karen Valby, Entertainment Weekly
“A fast-moving conspiracy potboiler . . . a zippy, pulpy read that puts pressing issues into sharp relief.”
—Jessica Winter, Slate
“The Circle is Brave New World for our brave new world . . . Now that we all live and move and have our being in the panopticon, Eggers’s novel may be just fast enough, witty enough and troubling enough to make us glance away from our twerking Vines and consider how life has been reshaped by a handful of clever marketers . . . There may come a day when we can look back at this novel with incredulity, but for now, the mirror it holds up is too chilling to LOL.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“The Circle may be . . . more fable than novel, but it has all that in common with Brave New World, Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Fahrenheit 451. One hopes that it will enjoy pride of place with those books in classrooms, as a reminder that surveillance and transparency were not always judged merely by what they might do for us.”
—Stefan Beck, Daily Beast
“Eggers's writing is so fluent, his ventriloquism of tech-world dialect so light, his denouement so enjoyably inevitable"
—Alexander Linklater, The Observer
“The Circle is intelligent and quirky, engaged and affecting and confirms Eggers’ place as one of the most interesting novelists currently writing.”
—Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman
“Dave Eggers takes the growing inescapabilty of social media and personal technology to clever and chilling places in his new novel.”
—Patrick Condon, Associated Press
“Game-changing . . . a fast-paced and suspenseful story . . . Eggers has produced the fable for our wired times.”
—Bethanne Patrick, AARP.org
“Most of us imagine totalitarianism as something imposed upon us—but what if we’re complicit in our own oppression? That’s the scenario in Eggers’ ambitious, terrifying, and eerily plausible new novel . . . Brave and important and will draw comparisons to Brave New World and 1984. Eggers brilliantly depicts the Internet binges, torrents of information, and endless loops of feedback that increasingly characterize modern life. But perhaps most chilling of all is his notion that our ultimate undoing could be something so petty as our desperate desire for affirmation.”
“A stunning work of terrifying plausibility, a cautionary tale of subversive power in the digital age suavely packaged as a Silicon Valley social satire. Set in the near future, it examines the inner workings of the Circle, an internet company that is both spiritual and literal successor to Facebook, Google, Twitter and more, as seen through the eyes of Mae Holland, a new hire who starts in customer service . . . Eggers presents a Swiftian scenario so absurd in its logic and compelling in its motives . . . sneaking up on the reader before delivering its warnings of the future, a worthy and entertaining read.”
—Publishers Weekly (Starred)
About the Author
- Publisher : Vintage; 1st edition (April 22, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 497 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0345807294
- ISBN-13 : 978-0345807298
- Item Weight : 13.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.17 x 0.82 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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In this new age of transparency, Mae is excited to see what else The Circle comes up with…until she has a strange interaction with a coworker who talks of the problems the lack of privacy can cause. The Circle is a book full of technological innovations, suspense, and moral questions, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
I really had a hard time putting The Circle down. I was immediately engaged with the story and completely fascinated by the inventions the company had created – many of which would be convenient to have today.
Part of what I loved about the book is how much it made me question the stance on privacy and anonymity. There were so many inventions and programs that The Circle wanted to implement that I could see as being both helpful but also a total removal of privacy, and I often questioned if the pros outweighed the cons.
I had a really hard time rating the book because while I loved the writing and learning more about the goals of The Circle including the inventions they wanted to make, I kept expecting something crazy to happen – some big event, similar to the way the story went with Divergent. That was not the case with The Circle, and I went back and forth on whether or not I felt it was missing something. Ultimately, I landed at 4.5 stars, and rounded up to 5 stars, specifically because I couldn’t put the book down and when I wasn’t reading it, I was definitely thinking about it.
I’ve read other reviews that said that they hated the ending. I actually liked it. By the end of the book, I had no doubts as to how it would end, and I liked that. I think the ending was absolutely what would happen in real life, regardless of whether or not I liked it, so I appreciated that it wasn’t necessarily a “happily ever after” ending with all loose ends tied up.
I liked Mae as the main character as much as I wanted to shake her sometimes! She definitely made some bad choices and occasionally struggled with her self worth. She tied a lot of what she felt about herself into what others thought of her. As much as it’s hard to read that, Mae is 24 and I don’t know many 24 year olds who don’t care at all what their peers think of them – I know I didn’t when I was 24. Hell, as much as I hate to admit it, I still struggle with not caring with what people thought of me, so honestly, that felt realistic to me.
All in all, I really enjoyed the book, and it made me think a lot about the world we live in today. Many of The Circle’s innovations felt like things I could actually see happening in real life, which made the book all the more creepy. This is definitely one I’d recommend for fans of the dystopian genre and anyone interested in the extremes the “selfie culture” could take. While this wasn’t a traditional “hard core” dystopian where the world is completely different than the one we live in, I think it still falls in this category. When all is said and done, this is still a book that’s on my mind as I fall asleep at night.
I'm giving this book two stars because it was pretty engaging while I believed it might come to a satisfying conclusion, but...it doesn't. The bad guys win, humans are sheep, and our POV character is as dumb as a brick, in the end and throughout.
I don't know if Kalden's true identity was supposed to be a surprise to us or just to Mae, but I knew who he was almost the instant he was introduced. I like how Eggers tries to casually explain away all the times Mae sees Ty's face after meeting Kalden and feels not even a glimmer of recognition. I also like how Kalden/Ty Spider-Mans his way across the tops of a row of bathroom stalls to swoop down and bone Mae on the toilet. Hot?
This book has some interesting points to make about our technology-obsessed culture and how the ubiquitousness of that culture erodes privacy, individuality, and choice, but the message is ultimately dulled and dampened by the fact that the main character is largely unsympathetic. She learns nothing at any point during the story. She spends the majority of the book exploiting and harassing her more-likeable family and friends and never really has to reckon with it. She's brainwashed at the beginning, more brainwashed by the end, and that's about it. We get hints that of course she's not truly happy, but they're never brought to bear in a way that provides the reader with any emotional catharsis.
I also found the premise of the book less than convincing. Again, some valid points are made, but I just don't buy that this would all happen as quickly and easily in real life as Eggers would like us to believe it could. How does a program like TruYou, which disallows any and all anonymity online, mesh with one of the things the internet is most commonly used for...porn? Clearly Eggers doesn't have an answer for this, because he straight-up refuses to deal with it. Mae's mom gives Mae's dad a handjob, but nobody in the Circleverse watches porn.
Speaking of Mae's mom and dad, what happened to them? Their plot thread is dropped like a hot potato after the aforementioned handjob. The whole health insurance thing seemed made to tie Mae to the Circle even once she realizes it's leading the world down a dark path, but she never does and her father's MS more or less disappears as a problem in the story. That's just sloppy writing.
Bottom line: good ideas, poor execution. I wouldn't recommend The Circle to anyone, unless they're a literary masochist. I knew the movie was critically panned, and I think now I know why.
The descriptions of working in large corporations - both a utility company and The Circle - are so absolutely tone deaf that I can't help but wonder if the author has ever even met someone who has ever worked for a large company?
One of the key plot points revolves around The Circle creating a small, almost invisible camera that streams instantly to the internet in high definition. Within a short period of time politicians in Canada and the US are wearing these things almost 24x7. Voluntarily wearing these devices, no coercion, and from there most of society decides this is a brilliant move. Completely tone deaf to human behaviour.
This novel was just completely unsatisfying. The overall privacy message the author is conveying is just hammered home with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, and about as enjoyable as well.
Don't waste your time on this.
Top reviews from other countries
It quickly gets into some interesting spaces (which are either chillingly depressing or encouraging, depending on where you stand). It's really well worth a read.
I am not saying that it's perfect. Some of the characters are a bit one dimensional, some of the plot points are a bit hard to swallow (it is hopelessly naive to think that any politician or any organisation would ever allow cameras into everything they do) but this feels like it is asking some very important questions. As the real world Googles and Facebooks hoover up ever more data about us, data that we are not necessarily aware we are sharing (have YOU ever read any of the terms and conditions of any online service? of course not), and as we are able to be tracked n real time by our phone companies, have Google reading our emails etc etc etc these questions need to be discussed and debated in society.
This book starts to ask the questions. It doesn't offer any answers, but, hey, Eggers is a novelist, not a politician. He doesn't have to. They do.
I was not hooked in during the first few pages but it didn't take must longer for me to become very intrigued by the ideas in the plot. It is a fictional look at the way that an internet based company can learn all about you and use that information for it's own benefit. We see the company through the eyes of a new employee who is in awe of the company's power whilst being a little scared if it's potential. Mae is used as an observer - she can be objective to begin with and we watch as she gets hooked in.
The writing is intensely observational and will leave any reader with a scary feeling about posting to any site. This book has made me think deeply about how I post (but I'm not sure it will change anything I do??).
It should be emphasized that this is fictional but much of the plot has happened in Google and Facebook since the publication which makes this book an uncomfortable read.
I have empathy for the addictive influence of the competitive environment with in the Circle - the desperation to participate and be seen. Their world gets weird when the effects of the company spreads and makes major changes within the world, with the question of "who is in control?" hanging in the air.
Mae's ex boyfriend questions and criticizes the Circle's principles. This is a blunt plot device but works well as he has an influential effect on Mae and her parents.
As the plot moves on I started to draw parallels with "1984", taking George Orwell's dystopian world way beyond anything he could have imagined.
The book is full of carefully plotted twists and turns, some I guessed and others I didn't. Towards the end there is an unsettling build up of tension culminating in a surprising ending.
Mae Holland is in her early twenties when she finds the job of every young person’s dream: to be a newby at the Circle, the revolutionary, hi-tech campus where any truly innovative idea in the technology and IT fields is being born. The principle driving all circlers is: everyone’s life’s for sharing - sounds familiar?
From articles to pictures to posts telling everyone at the Circle and beyond how your day is going, every circler gets evaluated and appreciated and ranked through other users’ scores and comments and appreciation or devaluation.
This until the day Mae accepts to be the guinea pig in the new 24/7 transparency experiment. Wearing a camera around her neck and sharing up to 20 hours of her daily life with users from all around the world Mae wants to show how every negative aspect of life on the planet, starting with violence and abuse and political corruption, can be prevented was everyone eventually forced to be a member of the Circle and, as a consequence, eventually go transparent were they to keep their position inside government offices, agencies, schools and even public services.
A total, 24/7, 100% control of every individual, even those, as we see at some point, who chose not to adhere to the Circle’s impositions and rules.
I had watched the movie when it first came out on Netflix and was quite curious to read the book it was based on.
I must say with the movie they did a great job but for one important detail: main character May is much more agreeable in the movie than she is in the book.
In the movie her ex’s Mercer’s death is accidental, a fatality she did not mean to happen. In the book, although this is still kind of fatality, it is pushed by Mae’s arrogance and insistence in involving reluctant, cast away Mercer into the controlling eye of the Circle.
Also, “paper” Mae is much more ruthless, ambitious, self-driven than her on screen equivalent. And the epilogue in the book couldn’t be more different than the movie’s, although perfectly in line with a character I despised almost from the beginning.
On a negative note, and here’s my 3 stars final vote’s reason: the book would indeed have still done well was it a good 150 pages shorter.
Before long, she realises that more than a 9 to 5 existence is demanded of her at work, and she is pushed to become more 'social', having her wrist slapped for not participating in company get-togethers and worse, not 'participating' on the myriad of social networks, and not even 'sharing' online her time-alone moments kayaking, and being anti-social and selfish because she is not 'transparent' enough. Mae becomes increasingly sucked into the groupthink of the Circle, and moving up the PartiRank becomes an all-consuming activity, just so she can break into the T2K, "a group of Circlers almost maniacal in their social activity and elite in their corresponding followers". She also moves up the ranks in the Circle, but at a huge cost.
Thankfully, not everyone is enamoured with the Circle's efforts. An ex-boyfriend of Mae comments late in the novel, "You people are creating a world of ever-present daylight, and I think it will burn us all alive" in a letter to Mae, that is broadcast 'live' via a camera installed on Mae, so that her every move is viewed by her 'watchers', who comment and assert their approval/disapproval by virtual 'smiles' and 'frowns' (a frighteningly familiar occurrence across social media as we know it). This small voice of dissent is, we find, virtually powerless. In fact, Mae becomes a sort of spokeswoman that preaches "privacy is theft", where not sharing or "zinging" about your personal experience becomes a criminal act.
Eggers's morality tale for and about the internet age may not be as cutting edge as it envisions itself to be, simply because there is already a wealth of literature about the information overload that the internet brings that blurs the line between private and public. But perhaps that is in itself evidence that the obsession with gaining more and more information and sharing up-to-the-minute experiences and ideas are inescapable demands on postmodern life. And that is a rather sobering thought.
The main character, Mae, is a dolt. She flung herself at the two men that gave her the attention, one being a weirdo who happened to be the first guy she spoke to (Francis) and a guy absolutely no-one seemed to know but she liked how he touched her with his hand that one time and the fact he gave her a "green lemon" (Kalden). She was also absolutely spiteful to her ex (Mercer) despite there seemingly not being much reason to except him being pompous but even then, she never insulted him because of that but instead always went to his weight.
A lot of the other reviews compare this to 1984 by George Orwell. Sure, the premise is very similar but this book wishes it did anything else like 1984. 1984 could also get away with some things as it was set a quarter of a century after it was published so it could get away with deus ex machina because it was set in a time that hasn't happened yet while The Circle is seemingly set in the time it was published, 2013 (they reference current issues and events and even tout the 7 billion population number at one point). This is probably nitpicky on my part but anyone even familiar with tech can call out when something feels off, an example for me being the "lollipop" cameras that can somehow stream in high quality in third world countries, places that wouldn't have stable internet and even then, if there was stable internet, The Circle would be losing out on money because of server space (I compare this to Twitch having a bitrate cap unless you're a partner but you're still capped in some ways and partners make up a minority on the site). I felt like this was written by a technophobic 50 year old man in a tin foil hat (ironically, something used more than once in a negative light in the book) because of just how out of touch this is (The sex references point me in this direction too). The impression is that we would accept a society where a huge tech company can invade on everyone's privacy just because it's a tech company we like. If Apple or Google did anything like this, we'd freak out, petition, picket it and the government wouldn't stand for it either. Yeah, sure, suspension of disbelief but it feels like this is set in our reality. It references real murderers and the death of Osama Bin Laden. If this was set 100 years from now, it might've gotten away with it. I also don't think George Orwell ever used the metaphor "It's like the baby is giving a handjob".
I believe the best way to read this book is as a parody, like if Alex Jones wrote a book. I am hoping, begging and praying the author intended it to be taken in this way because it seems everyone is doing the opposite and I can't help but feel people are thinking this book is more clever than it actually is.