Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

Delirium

1 Comment

I recently read this novel, Delirium. And it felt a bit like my story. Well, it’s actually young adult fiction but I was recommended to take a look at it and ended up loving it. Recently the sequel called Pandemonium was released and I enjoyed that as well.

Now, for the many of you who have not read it, here’s a real short summary: Lena is born into a future where people believe love is a sickness. In order to stay healthy, they get “cured”, meaning a part of their brain, the one responsible for emotions, is removed. The cure is administered around the age of 18. People wh are cured can’t feel emotions anymore, neither love nor hate, and every day is the same to them. Now, Lena falls in love and decides to run away, hide in the woods and stay uncured – an invalid, illegal and pretty much KOS.

It’s supposed to be a futuristic, dystopian novel but all of it felt awfully true to me. Not having emotions brings you closer to God, life the same every day, the same routine, no surprises. The past forgotten as soon as a new day breaks… forgiven?

Lena, the main character is terribly afraid of love. She tries to ignore it, tries to get rid of it, tries to do anything it takes to fall out of love. Doesn’t that sound terribly familiar?

So many people live in a world where they aren’t allowed to love as they please, or even show emotion. The more neutral you are towards other people – even “just” friends – the better.

So many times I thought YES, YES, YES when I read it. So many times I felt like I would have reacted the same way. Run away when you’re feeling too much. Trying to be the good girl everyone expects you to be, being afraid of the world around you, trying desperately to fit in but failing again and again… and, finally, being locked up in the house like Lena, with a family trying to “protect” you, trying to make you “understand”.

I don’t know why but I feel like the author didn’t intend to capture truth in this weird society. I think she wanted to come up with a real shocking, surreal world. But it’s not surreal, it’s true. And that’s what shocks me a bit.

I wonder, do people actually read this and think to themselves that it’s so unlikely that would happen, it’s so unlikely it’s already happening?

Yeah I’m just raving but this book really touched me. I just felt like my life, our lives, are made into a piece of fiction that most would consider totally impossible to be real.

If you don’t mind reading a book that “feels” written for 15-20 year olds, I definitely recommend it. It’s an easy, fast read, good entertainment for in-between when you don’t really want to think too much.

One thought on “Delirium

  1. Interesting bit of neuroscience: people who have had brain injuries (strokes or other damage) to the parts of the brain that actually deal with emotions find it almost impossible to make decisions. That’s any decisions, whether they sound like they are emotional or not: “tea or coffee?”, “laugh or cry?”, “buy a small box of washing powder or a large one?”.

    When people produce an argument to support a decision, it’s very much a “post hoc” thing – they got to the conclusion first (via the emotional route), the reasoning is forced into shape to support that conclusion.

    Part of any child’s upbringing is that their parents and others “prime” those emotional mechanisms so that certain things “feel” good. It might be that in a very helpful family, it might be that they learn to get pleasure from helping. In a very sporty family (or sporty school perhaps), it might be that they get pleasure from winning small competitions with other family members or friends.

    In a religious family, part of that priming is the child being trained to gain pleasure from imagining that “this is what my god (or Jesus) would want”. If that’s for doing stuff that anybody would agree was friendly and kind, such as helping others, telling the truth, being polite, that’s not too bad, even if it’s based on false premises (who knows what any gods want, they don’t exactly make it clear, do they?). But if it’s for the perverted reasons of the patriarchal monsters, it’s not good at all. I consider it a form of child abuse, but that’s only my opinion.

    So it sounds like the book you recommend actually addresses something with a genuine biological underpinning, albeit in a slightly head-over-heels way.

    I might see if I can find a copy! Thanks for the recommendation. And, as always, your posts are stimulating and interesting, and a light into a world that is hidden to many of us (thankfully!).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s