The Circle by Dave Eggers

This book is about a company called The Circle and a character called Mae who can’t believe her luck when she lands a job there. The Circle is the world’s most powerful fictional internet company, loosely based on Google, or Apple or Facebook, or a combination of all three. It is based in California on a sprawling campus, it’s an amazing place to work; all of the latest technology, dorms on campus that employees can sleep – or even live in, free food, free drink, you name it, The Circle has it for its employees. It seems like The Circle is the dream place to work, but then things take a sinister turn. We realize that The Circle is almost a cult, rather than a workplace and employees are encouraged to remain “on campus” all of the time and be active across social media at all times too.

The book delves into the relationship the world has with modern technology, in particular, social media platforms and the idea that “if it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen”, however, in this exaggerated future, social media has taken over, and The Circle has gone a step further by encouraging everyone to become “transparent”, meaning you wear a camera around your neck which live streams everything from your life, all day, every day.

The concept is interesting, especially in this day and age when social media is taking over and people are literally addicted to Facebook, Instagram etc. and feel the need to post every single detail of their lives across these platforms. However, it is somewhat unbelievable and even maddening that no one in the book really questions The Circle or these new ideas it’s trying to enforce on the world; everyone seems just happy to go along with it. The main character Mae, is horrible and I couldn’t stand her. She is such a weak and idiotic character with no opinions and no back bone. The portrayal of Mae is ridiculous and unbelievable becasue it’s hard to imagine any person reacting the way she does to the situations that she is faced with. We just discussed this book at our book club last night and the consensus within the group was we all hated Mae! Mae is sucked into the world of The Circle from day 1, and she never questions their actions, their motives or their “transparent philosophy” even as her life outside The Circle becomes a distant memory, even as she has strange encounters with a mysterious colleague, even as she becomes the worldwide face of The Circle.

Overall, the book is an interesting read, somewhat entertaining and a light read, however, I definitely didn’t love it. I particularly did not like how the main character Mae, was written, as noted above, so I would give it a 2 out of 5 stars. If you do decide to give it a go, you can purchase it from Amazon.