The Circle Review


How many times do you spend on the internet? I often spend more than 3/4/5 hours per day, sometimes even more. All I do is scrolling, liking, sharing, reading, watching and clicking and if you think about it, we’re still in a very early stadium of the development of technology. Only in 1965 Olivetti launched the first commercial computer the size of a typewriter, the same year the Sound of Music premiered. Today, 49 years later, we have computers the size of magazines, smaller than books, the same size as your palm and applications that allow us to talk to anyone who has access to internet at any time. We are the most advanced in technology that we will ever be now. Let’s wait for it…. And now we’re the most advanced in technology then we will ever be now too. 

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The Circle by Dave Eggers is about a 20-something year old Mae Holland. A smart, everyday woman who gets the opportunity to work at the hippest, biggest and most influential technology company in the world. This company, called The Circle, runs the social media accounts of nearly everyone in the world, has a huge influence in politics, opinions, what people can and cannot see and 90% of all the searches on the internet. Mae’s best friend Annie also works at The Circle and has a high position job, but love between Mae and an unreachable guy and innovation within The Circle lead to Mae changing completely. And oh my have I had a breakdown after I finished The Circle. I had to check twice whether it was really over or not, did I just read what I thought I read? I mean it was amazing, but enraging. I can not say anything much because otherwise I’d have to insert a *spoiler alert* which I’m not planning to insert.

*Spoiler alert* there are no spoilers.

The Circle triggers so many questions about which path technology is taking with the help of human innovation that I am questioning every big company in my thoughts. Mae Holland introduces us to the near-future life that is accessible to everyone to see and hear. Everyone knows everything about you, what you say, where you have been, with who you’ve been, what you saw and what your opinion is. Mae Holland, though being an amazingly worked out, yet at the same time most annoying character of all time, will stand next to you every time you question technology.

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If technology takes the dystopian way Dave Eggers describes, our own ideas will work against us, we will have no privacy, we will be blackmailed and pressured into a life in which everyone can see what you are doing and what you are saying, everyone knows your opinion and you cannot be anonymous anymore. The amazing thing about The Circle is that it is both a Utopian, as a Dystopian book. In the beginning I was thrilled, I too wanted to work at The Circle and have such an amazing job like Mae Holland and Annie. But as the book continues, The Circle turns out to be something close to a thriller that still seems pretty happy and amazing because The Circle seems to brainwash everyone around them. I am afraid that our society will turn into the society Dave Eggers describes.  Yet I know that we are already close to becoming the Eggers society.

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Have you every noticed that when you hang out with a group of friends, or watch a movie, everyone is on their phone. Also in the train in Stockholm, at first I adored the advancement of technology in Stockholm, everyone was on their phone or iPad, playing games, researching and talking to friends or colleagues but The Circle definitely changed my perspective on social media. I can now see the lesser good side of technology and the constant pressure to be online as clear as the good side of technology that allows knowledge to be passed on and connections to be made. Because of technology the Stockholm subway (not the bread, the metro, don’t let it fool you) is nearly always so incredibly silent that you can hear a coin drop, there is no way of conversing in real life with someone because talking in the public transport isn’t considered “normal”. I wish there were an app that allowed you to talk to people close to you on the phone, or that you knew their names, but then we would come very close to The Circle.

If you want a smart, intriguing and worrying book that you can not put down, do you want to work in a big company when you are finished with University? I would very much encourage you to get on your bike, or in your car, or in the bus, drive to the closest bookshop and buy The Circle by Dave Eggers. It is an amazing book that will make you wonder whether your phone is plotting against you.

Love, Joy Sophia.

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