Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Reviewed by Grace Bannister

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Review By: Grace Bannister – 3rd period – Honors 9 English


Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.

Imagine that love is a disease. That it creeps up from nothing and destroys you from the inside out, driving you to madness. Not so unbelievable is it? This is the idea that spawned Lauren Oliver’s novel, Delirium. The book that chronicled the story of Lena Haloway, a young woman awaiting the procedure that would cure her from the most horrible disease known to mankind – love.  In the end, I really had some mixed feelings about this book. While the general plot was wonderful, and the writing was powerful, I simply could not connect with the characters. I believe that it was that lack of connection that, sadly, caused me to only give this book three and a half stars.

The main idea of the book was a beautiful concept. It really had a ton of potential. The disease, the cure, and the rebellion were all interwoven fabulously. Oliver made sure to portray how the love cure impacted every kind of relationship – About how familial relationships break without love, about how friendships would change without love, and of course, how one cannot fall in love, if there is an absence of love. Oliver’s beautiful words accentuated her ability to weave a beautiful tapestry of storyline, and really helped make this book a pleasant read.

While reading Delirium, I fell in love with Oliver’s amazing ability to turn words into something powerful and meaningful. One of my favorite quotes from the book was this: “One of the strangest things about life is that it will chug on, blind and oblivious, even as your private world – your little carved-out sphere – is twisting and morphing, even breaking apart. . . .That’s when you realize that most of it – life, the relentless mechanism of existing – isn’t about you. It doesn’t include you at all. It will thrust onward even after you’ve jumped the edge. Even after you’re dead.” ― Lauren Oliver, Delirium. Those words had a quality about them that echoed, that was resounding. It’s absolutely amazing to find someone who can wield words as a tool. Oliver uses her words as a mechanism to deliver profound meaning and depth. Yet, it perplexes me that she could do this, but not be able to give emotion life to her characters.

Delirium’s protagonist, Lena Haloway, was a strong character who really believed in her love for Alex. To me, however, her love felt like a façade. It didn’t seem to me that she truly loved Alex. It felt more like she was in love with the idea of love, and that Alex was just a symbol for that. To her, he was a passionate rebel that was able to give her something of which she had been deprived – love. This made the love story feel transparent to me. I felt no emotional connection to the characters, and to me that is one of the defining factors of a novel.

In the end, I would say that Lauren Oliver’s Delirium was a good read that I would recommend to someone looking for a great plot and beautiful writing. I would, however, advise those seeking an emotional connection to look elsewhere. I feel like this novel will challenge readers to think about love and what it means to them.


4 responses

  1. Grace,

    You have a strong introduction, and your first few sentences grabbed my attention and made me want to keep reading your book review. It’s interesting that you were honest about your feelings regarding the novel, and I like that you prepared your readers for your mixed feelings. You describe your love of the writing in great detail, and I like that you used a quote as an example. The quote really helped me understand exactly why you liked the writing. It’s obvious that you understand how to incorporate quotes, but I would have liked to have seen more quotes throughout your book review. Quotes often serve as evidence that support your claims or arguments. When you use a quote, it helps the readers understand why are making a certain claim, and quotes also make you seem more credible because it doesn’t seem like everything you believe is just your opinion. I would suggest that you add a quote in the paragraph describing Lena Haloway. You could possibly use a quote to explain why you believe her love is a facade. I also believe that your final paragraph could be more developed, and I would suggest adding more details. You could possibly go into more details about why you wouldn’t recommend the book to everyone. Overall, I think this is a great book review, and I can really see your growth and improvement.

    -Chassidy Marcum

    1. Dear Chassidy,
      Thank you for reviewing my book review. Thank you as well for the compliments and constructive criticism. It was somewhat difficult to be completely honest about my feelings and write a coherent review. When I published this, I wasn’t sure if my thoughts had been organized well enough. So, I was very glad to see that you understood what I was saying, and that you were interested in my piece. On another note, I recognize that using quotes and details will make my work seem more credible, and hopefully I will remember to use them more frequently in the future. Overall, I understand your review and will continue to work to improve my writing.
      – Grace

  2. Grace,

    I love how honest you are in this review; it gave it a nice edge, in my opinion. Your opening was strong, and your thesis was wonderfully complex. Even though it wasn’t all wrapped up in one sentence, it still had three prongs and mapped out the rest of your review.

    As far as the transitions go…Bravo! You tied everything together so seamlessly, and it made the whole review flow so smoothly! Great job on using a quote as well! Now that you seem comfortable using quotes, one-up yourself: use more! The more evidence you use, the more believable and powerful your reviews will be!

    Again, great work! Keep it up!! 🙂

    1. Dear bmbrown19,
      Thank you for reviewing my work. I’m very glad to see that you enjoyed it, and thank you for all of your compliments. In the future, I hope to improve my writing by using more quotes from my resources. Again, thank you for your positive comment.
      – Grace

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