Mae Holland is thrilled when she gets hired at the world famous company The Circle. The Circle is the leader of technological advances and has basically monopolized the use of the internet and social media. In addition, they strive to streamline daily activities, so they found a way to integrate all social media accounts, payment options, purchase history, etc to create a single online identity.
In this new age of transparency, Mae is excited to see what else The Circle comes up with…until she has a strange interaction with a coworker who talks of the problems the lack of privacy can cause. The Circle is a book full of technological innovations, suspense, and moral questions, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
I really had a hard time putting The Circle down. I was immediately engaged with the story and completely fascinated by the inventions the company had created – many of which would be convenient to have today.
Part of what I loved about the book is how much it made me question the stance on privacy and anonymity. There were so many inventions and programs that The Circle wanted to implement that I could see as being both helpful but also a total removal of privacy, and I often questioned if the pros outweighed the cons.
I had a really hard time rating the book because while I loved the writing and learning more about the goals of The Circle including the inventions they wanted to make, I kept expecting something crazy to happen – some big event, similar to the way the story went with Divergent. That was not the case with The Circle, and I went back and forth on whether or not I felt it was missing something. Ultimately, I landed at 4.5 stars, and rounded up to 5 stars on Goodreads, specifically because I couldn’t put the book down and when I wasn’t reading it, I was definitely thinking about it.
I’ve read other reviews that said that they hated the ending. I actually liked it. By the end of the book, I had no doubts as to how it would end, and I liked that. I think the ending was absolutely what would happen in real life, regardless of whether or not I liked it, so I appreciated that it wasn’t necessarily a “happily ever after” ending with all loose ends tied up.
I liked Mae as the main character as much as I wanted to shake her sometimes! She definitely made some bad choices and occasionally struggled with her self worth. She tied a lot of what she felt about herself into what others thought of her. As much as it’s hard to read that, Mae is 24 and I don’t know many 24 year olds who don’t care at all what their peers think of them – I know I didn’t when I was 24. Hell, as much as I hate to admit it, I still struggle with not caring with what people thought of me, so honestly, that felt realistic to me.
All in all, I really enjoyed the book, and it made me think a lot about the world we live in today. Many of The Circle’s innovations felt like things I could actually see happening in real life, which made the book all the more creepy. The book has been adapted into a movie starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, so I’m excited to see the movie – I’m hoping it does the book justice! This is definitely one I’d recommend for fans of the dystopian genre and anyone interested in the extremes the “selfie culture” could take. While this wasn’t a traditional “hard core” dystopian where the world is completely different than the one we live in, I think it still falls in this category. When all is said and done, this is still a book that’s on my mind as I fall asleep at night.