Margin Notes: The Circle

I just realized I didn't post this review to my blog! I read this back in the spring and it really made me think. For people interested in technology, character, and current events...

The Circle
by Dave Eggers
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 America--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.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WHOA. This book was enthralling, chilling, just so so interesting. The time is a place not too far in the future. The main character, Mae, feels like a normal girl who's trying to find herself. The path this story takes is compelling--once you've read it, it seems so obvious. But, the reason it feels like that is because Eggers makes it so very deftly. His writing is standout, the nuanced plot pulls you right along. This book challenged me to think about technology, simplicity, ease in a different way and I appreciate that. As a person who loves the simplification of things, who is happy to have fewer logins, who is happy to do my banking online, who appreciates when my searches are pre-filled so I don't have to finish typing them, this book takes those feelings to the extreme and showed me how they could add up to a world with no privacy, in my mind, a complete lack of mental health. Fascinating. A must read.

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