I’m appalled I actually finished that train wreck.
Title: The Circle
Author: Dave Eggers
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
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.
The Circle by Dave Eggers was an apocryphal mess with which I grew increasingly and increasingly annoyed. It followed Mae Holland, an exceptionally exaggerated woman, who was also exceptionally naïve about everything going on around her. Her coworkers were no different from each other, and there was NO, I mean NO positive character development. As she delved deeper into the company, from Customer Experience, of course, she fell prey to the artificial utopia she’s been handed.
I’d give The Circle one star, for its poor writing, poor characters, poor plot, and the disappointment from Dave Eggers for ruining this premise.
Mae, our main character, started off well enough. She seemed nice, at least, until reaching an unacceptable level of “goodness you really are 100 times worse than the Buchanan’s. Combined.” It’s believable that Mae could be good at Customer Experience (really, why “experience?”), but an average woman, two years out of college, would not be able to pull of all of these asinine choices she winds up making.
She puts a camera on at all times. I realize that the point of this was to assimilate into her company (and earn more money, if I’m honest), but what sort of Customer Service,(almost fresh-out-of) college grad goes that far so early on? Mae was unrealistic.
It was a boring spectacle. Nothing too big happened, and this isn’t the type of situation where you can hate a character but still love a book. Mae made it absolutely impossible to have any will at all to finish this story. There was that twist at the end that absolutely ruined anything good about her character. It wasn’t admirable or anything, it wasn’t supposed to be, it was something that destroyed anything distinctly good about the book.
The company is plastic, Mae’s plastic, the whole idea’s plastic! It’s fake and fits to a mold, it certainly doesn’t break it. It’s misogynistic, and quite honestly, offensive. Mae is shown as a weak woman, impressionable by the men around her. Even a bestseller can be promoting the patriarchy.
The idea was good, in a time where technology is becoming increasingly vigilant and watching, but the idea didn’t pan out in this book.
The Circle-A disappointment of what could have been an impeccably well-crafted novel.