The Circle by Dave Eggers
506 pages, 4 stars
THE BOOK: Mae Holland, a 24 year old college grad, gets hired by The Circle because her brilliant best friend works there. The Circle is a modern internet company that created TruYou, which was designed so that people have to be their ACTUAL selves on the internet. Goodbye internet hazing and trolls. Great idea right? This company is on the cutting edge of technology and employs the smartest young people in the country. Mae is awed by their intelligence and their influence. They are doing such great work in so many different areas, but what happens when they go too far?
The Circle is basically Dave Eggers’ fictional attempt at warning us all what would happen if a company like say Google took over the world. It’s quite terrifying and eye-opening. I was reading it at the same time that I was (and still am) reading The New Rules of Marketing and PR, and let me tell you it’s a total mindf*ck. A lot of the things Eggers sites as the first step in tyrannical internet rule (like engaging with customers via a social media presence in real-time and letting your customers see your true self, etc.) are things Scott says the marketing world should be doing. I feel like after reading Egger’s book and just starting my masters in Integrated Marketing, I have inadvertently boarded the crazy train.
The Circle makes you excited and interested in the technological development in the beginning, because it is framed as helping the world. Then slowly you start to see the potential for harm and the book gets super creepy. Eggers did a fantastic job of controlling the reader’s (in this case, my) perception of the “good” of the company. I also hated Mae. Not at first but by 3/4 of the way through she was just the worst. It’s difficult to write a book that is so compelling when your main character is terrible. But Eggers pulls it off in futuristic style!
My main problem with this book is that I didn’t think the relationship was fleshed out enough between Mae and Khalden. And because of this, the ending seemed like a no brainer. I didn’t wonder what Mae would do, and I wish I had been unsure.
FASHION FRIDAY: My dear little transparent circler, slip into this pair of comfy jeans that you found in the dorm’s dresser. Somehow they fit you, even though you’re pretty sure you never told The Circle what size pants you wear.
These douchy sneaks are the newest on the market, you’re exclusive circle gave them to you for free. Perks! They’ll keep you comfortable as you virtually walk the world around The Circle, giving them insider access.
This hipster sweater is a joke of yours. Camera’s like these are so 2012 and this sweater is a throw back to when people actually took photos. Now, you wear a live streaming camera around your neck, which allows you expose yourself to the world. This Pixi “naked” lip color is perfect for your new found public life.
Your online presence sky rockets when you’re at The Circle due to your burgeoning personal motto “I’m so posting this,” which you flaunt on your phone with pride.
This ring with tiny hearts represents all the people that you love: your parents, Annie, Khalden, etc. And you manage to hurt all of them one by one.
Finally pull on this rain jacket, whether you’re just kayaking or weathering the shit storm of doing something without sharing it with the world, this jacket will protect you. At least temporarily.