I’ve seen reviews on both ends of the spectrum for Lauren Oliver’s Delirium, positive and negative. Y’all I’m about to wave around my Lauren Oliver fan club car, because I firmly believe no matter what she writes, I will love it. I haven’t reviewed Before I Fall yet, just know, pre-review that I loved it. This matters because when I heard Lauren Oliver was writing a dystopia, I wondered how she would handle it and if she was just hoping on the bandwagon. Kids, Delirium blew my expectations out of the water and even merited a facebook status, which is kind of a big deal, as I keep my blogging/reading separate from real life.
So the premise behind Delirium is that IT’S THE FUTURE and scientists have found a cure for love, that disease that makes people do crazy things. Lena Haloway, about to turn 18, will be allowed to get the cure in 95 days. She’s beyond excited about this seeing as how the deliria messed up her family and she’s genetically prone to delira. Yet, fate has a different plan for Lena, you see, she meets a boy. Alex. And falls in LOVE.
After reading a few bad reviews, I was worried the worldbuilding and concept behind Delirium wouldn’t be real to me, but it totes was. And I wonder if because I listened to the audiobook there was an inherent sense of authenticity, as it felt like I was hearing it through Lena’s voice, the voice of a real person telling me their story. I mean, I have to wonder if I would have felt the same had I traditionally read Delirium. And certainly this is a question to ponder, do audiobooks add legitimacy to worldbuilding? I mean, when you get a fantastic narrator like Sarah Drew sometimes it feels like you will believe anything that comes out of the speaker because it feels authentic.
Sarah Drew does a fantastic job handling the character of Lena. Her voice is vulnerable and young. She has a fabulous tonal quality, I mean her voice never got nasally or annoying, but really carried the story and sounded exactly how I would imagine a teenage girl. She’s rather convincing.
I think what worked best for me in Delirium were Lauren Oliver’s characters, I think characterization is where she shines as a writer. Lena is coming of age in a world where love isn’t allowed, yet she manages to allow her self to feel love and we know her through her reactions to her fear. To her small acts of bravery and defiance of the society in which she is raised. We see her being kind to her little sister. And the depths of her friendship with Hannah, her best friend. Hannah who encourages Lena who is shy in the beginning of the book to break out of her confines. Hannah who starts out wanting to fight the cure. I love how Oliver illustrates the friendship between the two girls not as a competitive friendship, or frenemies, but mutually beneficial. I don’t see any hard and fast backstabbing between the two and I love that. I loved her characterization of Alex, who is absolutely on the edges of this society. I won’t say more about him, because he is best left discovered for yourself. I loved her characterization of Lena’s aunt, who does take Lena in and raises her with caring despite the tarnish on the family because of Lena’s mother.
I liked that class was addressed in Delirium. We absolutely get to see stratification between the haves and the have-nots. You see, Lena is totally middle class, but her friend Hannah is upper class and has class advantages like a car, everyone else walks places or takes the bus. And we have people who live on the Outside who haven’t received the cure who are cut off from society and it’s resources. We see how this society treats people perceived to be mentally ill, those who have succumbed to the deliria and perhaps refuse treatment, those people are locked up. It’s fascinating and I wonder if I would have picked up on it, had I not listened to the audiobook.
The audiobook of Delirium by Lauren Oliver is narrated by Sarah Drew and produced by Harper Audio. It is 11 hours and 41 minutes long, unabridged.
Disclosure: Purchased with my audible credit.
Other Reviews of Delirium by Lauren Oliver:
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*Also if you are reading this from a feed reader, if you click through to read it on my website, in the upper right hand corner, you can watch the UK trailer for Delirium which is actually pretty well done.