The Circle

Author: Dave Eggers

The Circle is an example of a great idea badly executed and I partly wanted to be executed while reading it. I thought it would never end!

A book club friend refused to read it because she had already thrown one of Dave Eggers books across the room in a rage – sorry Dave.

The basic premise of the book is the state of the world and evolution social media, its role in our lives and the power of the companies who control these communications channels.

Lead character Mae Holland joins an amazing company – The Circle – (think Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc) and is over the moon about the opportunity. It’s the kind of company that has yoga at lunchtime, concerts and free booze at night and, you don’t even have to worry about getting drunk and getting home because they have pods where you can stay overnight. Essentially you can live there.

The Circle is a company that is constantly trying to evolve and revolutionise the internet and this eventually leads to the launch of a new sharing programme called Truyou – an always on, full access sharing system. Mae is selected to be the first Truyou user and welcomes the world into her life. The concept is similar to Big Brother TV shows and when I heard a woman live streamed delivering her baby I thought, we’re already there.

Needless to say the Truyou system has its flaws and the lives of Mae, her family and friends are irrevocably impacted by her participation.

Like I said, it’s a really interesting concept and who knows where the internet will take us in five, 10 or 20 years, but the writing doesn’t keep pace with the idea. While at The Circle, Mae has romantic dalliances that are painful to read and even Mae, as a character, seems half formed. She seems to move through life without much thought or emotions. I found her slightly robotic and hard to sympathise with.

The book was turned into a film with Emma Watson as Mae and Tom Hanks as the face of The Circle. I really hoped the film would be an improvement on the book but sadly no. I struggled through that too. And I hate to say it because I love Emma Watson, but it was a bad script and bad acting.

This is one of those books that I’ve read so you don’t have to.


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