The Circle is a novel by Dave Eggers that is now adapted into a movie starring Emma Watson as the protagonist, Mae. It takes place in the present time where a company called the “circle” employs Mae. The company combines every social media there is like Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and many more. Mae used to work for a small electricity company in a small, old and dark building. Her friend Annie, with whom she shared a room during her time at university, is one of the leading figures at the company and helped Mae to get a job at the “circle”. Only the brightest minds and the most intellectual people are employed there. Mae arrives at the huge campus and her job in the CE (customer experience) seems more like a hobby to her. She only has to answer questions customers pose and gets rated by them. The campus is huge and offers free activities and the most modern technology. There are parties every day, superstars give concerts regularly, clothing is offered by famous companies before they are even on sale and every employee gets upgraded with the newest electronic devises as soon as they are invented – the best part: everything is free. The only thing she has to do for it is answer questions and keep the whole world updated about her life at every time wherever she is. At first everything seems fine. She makes friends with a bunch of people and attends events. Then the mass of information begins to break her. With slogans like “Sharing is caring” the company is trying to motivate people to let them collect as much data as possible. Mae begins to wake up and stops sharing and slowly everyone is starting to turn against her. The “circle” has gained too much power. Will she be able to break free?
The Circle is a very interesting novel, because of the way it portrays both sides of media. The fun part of sharing things with your friends, but also the dark part: companies collecting every single piece of data, addiction to electronic devices and the dangers of an anonym world. The interesting thing is that Google actually offers its employees a similar campus at its main location. The style of writing may not be my favourite, as it gets a bit boring towards the middle, but it isn’t stretched too long. I assume every good writer has chapters that are not as good as the rest. Some particular scenes were a bit awkward and for me didn’t fit into the plot.
It is nice to read a book that actually deals with the dangers we might be facing. This book is not warning young readers about the internet and doesn’t says not to use it, what was my fear when starting it. The internet is good and can be helpful, if you use it right, is the statement. All in all The Circle is a good book dealing with modern times.
I would give it 3 out of 5 stars.