Friday, 17 October 2014

REVIEW - The Circle by Dave Eggers


Thank you to Penguin for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review

So I have just returned from holiday and during said holiday I read in two weeks the grand total of one book!  

Yes just one book, I was just as shocked as you were!  

Last night whilst my body clock was all to hell following my uncomfortable plane journeys I decided to start reading this book that had been sitting on my virtual TBR pile for a couple of weeks, I'd heard a lot of good stuff about it and by three am I was 60% in.

The Circle is crazy good, from the first paragraph only sleep stopped me reading this scarily realistic look at what the Internet could become in our near future.

Mae has left her dead end job to work for the world largest and most powerful Internet company, The Circle, helped in to her new position by her college room mate Annie who is high up inside this tech giant.

The Circle is everything that you would imagine a Silicon Valley behemoth to be like, glass walls, shiny surfaces, airy rooms, vast buildings full of bright young things with amazing ideas, though in the case of The Circle's campus it has been on steroids, it is huge.

I could tell you about Mae's job and her ascension from working in customer services to becoming the face of the company but I really want to tell you about the technology that comes up in this book, as Mae fully immerses herself in the world of The Circle.

The Circle is big on community, so imagine Facebook and Twitter, merge them together with You Tube and Pinterest and you have TruYou, one place on the net where you can do everything, no more multiple accounts for different things TruYou does it all.

Because TruYou requires the real you to sign up it has done away with false identities wiping out identity theft, it has revolutionised the way we use the Internet.  The company has been set up by three tech geniuses known as The Three Wise Men and they are worshipped by their staff members, everyone loves working at The Circle, it has everything you could possibly want from weekly health checks to vegan food on the cafeteria menus.

As Mae gets further in to her career, the job really does take over her life, she is required to document everything, she has to share what she loves, what she hates, she has to have a huge online presence and everything is tracked, the higher ups can tell if you have not participated in an event or have not been keeping up with your social duties.

The whole concept of The Circle's systems really scared me, I use Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest along with Blogger to write this but I can't say that I am on Facebook every five minutes telling everyone what I've just had for breakfast, but The Circle wants you to share this and as the book progresses a motto appears-

Secrets are Lies
Sharing is Caring
Privacy is Theft

Bam!, straight in to Nineteen Eighty Four territory, The Circle introduce cameras called SeeChange, tiny things that can be stuck anywhere and soon places remote or previously off limits are there for everyone to see, people are wearing the cameras round their necks, politicians become Transparent, their constituents love it, there are no secrets anymore.

Little by little as we follow Mae on her journey with The Circle you realise that they have pretty much virtually taken over the World, and as the story draws to a conclusion the Wise Men are impressing upon everyone the need to complete their circle and as they draw up plans to do this you can envision exactly what this entails and it really does start to become scary in their grand plan for their community at large.

Mae I feel is just so eager to please and very competitive but she is also a little naive, meeting a stranger on site, one who won't tell her where her works and seems to disappear for weeks on end would certainly set alarm bells ringing in my head but she is charmed by this man but as she finds out more about him how will she react.

The Circle was pretty astounding, I read some reviews of it saying its long and yes it is but I really felt it was all necessary, there is a lot of focus on Mae's parents and their problems along with her ex-boyfriend and his lack of passion for this digital revolution, it all adds up to the amazing essence of this story.  

What makes it so good is that it is happening now, social media is everywhere, years back nobody had a mobile phone or an email, now everyone has it in spades, The Circle gives us an insight in to what we are in for, I'm sure someone in Silicon Valley is working on something like this just now, my money is on Apple they pretty much rule the world just now anyway!

Read it, it has great tech savvy, a bit of sex and romance, humour and just feeling part of the awesome Circle campus is something you should experience for yourself.

Awarded 5 out of 5


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