Author: Dave Eggers
Length: 822 minutes / 13.70 hours
When I saw the movie adaptation of this book, I felt like the presentation of this somewhat interesting idea was already dated by about five years. This made me curious if the book was any better. As is probably no surprise to anyone, the book was much better. Sure, the movie cut a few things from the book that I thought were a bit too unnecessary (all the “sex,” that is) or underutilized (the “Calvin” character), but the book really hits at the intensity of the internet-addicted generation. I would even go so far as to say The Circle is the modern version of 1984.
I’m somewhat torn when it comes to the message presented here. I understand how trying to stay on top of millions of e-mails, and thousands of social media updates can be utterly overwhelming. I also agree that a lot of ideas that seem to be beneficial to society will have the removal of personal privacy as an adverse side effect. However, the vehemence that people participate in the world does bring up a good point about apathy. Granted, I don’t think we should be nearly as extreme in our “oversharing” on social media, but if the majority of success is just showing up, then why do so many people find themselves too busy to even participate? Do they not want to engage with their fellow humans?
I did appreciate how the transition from utopia to dystopia went almost entirely unchecked. The main character’s journey really helped to show how the addicting nature of online interactions and instant feedback can get out of hand. From documenting our lives to searching for information to even searching for love (of which internet dating wasn’t included in the movie), the internet is a powerful place. If anything The Circle highlights how dangerous a true democracy can really be, particularly if the minority opinions are known at each decision point.
A terrifying look into our digital mirror, I give The Circle 4.5 stars out of 5.