I don’t know what I was expecting when I opened The Circle for the first time. I had heard of it when it was released a few years ago, but it wasn’t a book I’d have picked up then. In fact, being honest, the only reason I decided to pick it up now was because I saw the movie trailer for it. Since Emma Watson is starring,and she generally has kind of perfect taste, I decided I would read the book before seeing the movie, like all good book nerds. And everything I knew about the book before I opened it to page 1 could be summed up by that movie trailer.
I didn’t expect it. I really didn’t. This book took me a couple of days to read, because the only time I had to do so was in the hour while I’m in bed before I go to sleep at night. The bedside-table-book, never to be confused with the handbag-book or the living-room-coffee-table book, or the favoured-reading-chair book. This book, however, had me hooked before I even knew that I was; I found myself wondering, while glaring at my spreadsheets at work, what was going to happen next. But it wasn’t the sort of hooked that I would normally be on a book; normally, I get hooked on a book because the adventure is good, or the magic is enchanting, or I am emotionally invested in the characters or the storyline.
I got hooked on this book because it was really, really discomfiting.
And I didn’t expect it. I wanted to know what happened next, but I also didn’t because I can see parallels in this book. I can see parallels with Nineteen Eighty Four, which also creeped me out. More importantly, and distressingly, I can see parallels with life. With the present, and the future. Eggers writes his characters in such a way that not only can you empathize and sympathize with them, but you can see their thoughts and actions in your own. He makes you wonder what you would do in their situations, what you would do if this happened. Makes you wonder if it is happening, and we either aren’t noticing or ar being purposefully ignorant because it is easier that way.
I’m glad I read this book, thought even I couldn’t tell you exactly why, And I recommend it to you, though I can’t tell you the reason for that either, except maybe that it will make you think. That alone is a good enough reason to read just about anything. My opinion of the book? Still undecided. I can’t say I loved it, because it was just too damned creepy for that. I can’t say I hated it, because I’m glad I read it and I think I might even read again one day. But even today, several days after I finished it?
Featured image credit: Smileit.at