Twenty-Fifteen: I’m doing something I’ve been putting off for far too long. I’m getting serious about reading, again. I’ve dusted off my paperbacks and charged up my Kindle. It’s time to take the time to feed my poor television-adled brain with a selection of healthy, nourishing fiction. So, read on, little brain. Read on. We’re going Book to the Future!
I don’t know why I haven’t been reading this book as quickly as I should be. I mean, I suspect it has something to do with the non-existent chapter structure that makes me feel accomplished after reading four pages before a scene break happens, thus resulting in a slogging progress through this story.
But anyhow, that aside…
I’m about half way through and the story is simultaneously hauntingly near-future scary, and yet slightly over-the-top. I’m still undecided on my verdict.
Synopsis: Mae is a keen new employee to “The Circle” a post-Facebook, internet megacompany that essentially controls every aspect of social and financial transaction on the net. She’s scored a cushy customer service entry-level job in the sprawling wondercampus headquarters, and the tone of the book is clearly setting up to evoke notions of a Google-meets-Apple-meets-Facebook coddled work environment that so many of us outsiders probably suspect is some kind of techno-cult lurking behind gleaming walls. But then that seems to be exactly what this is, and with each passing day Mae is getting deeper and more entrenched, participating in the non-mandatory but damned-if-you-don’t faux socialness of the place, each week acquiring another new screen or device, and with each of this a little more soul-sucking removal of her privacy. To make matters worse, she keeps stumbling and letting this creepy and the over-reaching so-called charity of the company trap her there just a little bit more.
There was a chapter whose tone was essentially scraped from the movie Office Space, that scene where Jennifer Aniston’s character is being berated by her sniveling boss about just doing the “bare minimum” with the “pieces of flair” for her waitress uniform. She’s done what she’s been told, complying with a pointless policy…
Stan: We need to talk. Do you know what this is about?
Joanna: My, uh, flair?
Stan: Yeah. Or, uh, your lack of flair. Because, I’m counting and I only see fifteen pieces. Let me ask you a question, Joanna.
Stan: What do you think of a person who only does the bare minimum?
Joanna: Huh. What do I think? Um, you know what, Stan, if you want me to wear thirty-seven pieces of flair, like your uh, pretty boy over there, Brian, why don’t you just make the minimum thirty-seven pieces of flair?
Stan: Well, I thought I remembered you saying that you wanted to express yourself.
…but yeah. The Circle has a bit of that tone, too. But at this point in the novel (I’m assuming this is where the character is going because I haven’t seen it yet) Mae hasn’t bitten back at the hand that is simultaneously feeding and grasping her in it’s slimy claw, all the while nudging her to add more “flair”… which in this case means participating in a gag-inducing level of social media play-along, commenting, validating the shallow feelings of her co-workers, answering surveys, liking other peoples drivel (or whatever the fictional equivalent is) and attending a never ending stream of parties.
Oh, and in the middle of it all, she’s quasi-involved in a couple of very troubling and very manipulative relationships that just make you want to scream into the pages for her to quit and go work at Starbucks or something.
The Circle… what a bunch of jerks.