Monday, March 7, 2011

Delirium




Alright, the following statement should not come as a shock to any of you. I am a sucker for young adult novels. Books about vampires, fallen angels, teenage angst, dystopian societies, etc. But what I really am reading for is -- love.

So when I stumbled upon a book called Delirium, a dystopian novel about a society who deems love a disease -- I knew I had found the book for me.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver is the story of a society that has decided love is a disease called the deliria. They ingrain in all of the citizens that it is a disease that is deadly unless cured on ones 18th birthday. The story follows seventeen year old Lena who does the unexpected and forbidden, falls in love two months before she is supposed to be cured. When she meets handsome and confident Alex, she believes he is cured. But when he reveals he has a secret identity and has been admiring her from afar, Lena will be forced to question all she believed true about her society.

This book breaths emotion onto the page. Pain, happiness, despair, hate, love... Taking the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions, demonstrating just what the novel is about. Sometimes we have to hurt, but the happiness that can come when we are allowed to feel is worth the pain.

"You can't be happy unless you're unhappy sometimes"."
— Lauren Oliver (Delirium)

Since embarking on the process of writing my own book, I have started reading books with an analytical look at the writing. Delirium is beautifully written--that I would not dispute. The characters are exquisite and well portrayed. And there is no lack of imagery. In fact every sentence is accompanied by a simile, metaphor, or over stylized description. Let's just say, that though it is beautiful language, it was incredibly annoying. I found myself skimming paragraphs. The main reason to skim, was because I just wanted to get on with the story.

The story. A story of love in the midst of a world where love is not supposed to belong. Though the imagery was distracting, the story that it told was incredible. As I neared the end, I literally felt my heart shrink and swell with each page. The anticipation was almost too much to handle. The book took a while to get into, but by the midpoint I devoured it. Possessed with an overpowering voracity.

It reminded me of what I love most abut reading. Since getting an iPad, books are far too accessible. I just jump onto my pad and download whatever book I want to read. As a result, my book count has gone way up. I have read some entertaining books. But until this one, I haven't read a book that impacted me quite as much. It is that feeling of desperation and hunger, accompanied by rapid breathing and small gasps. Out loud cries of frustration, followed by silent tears.

Reading this book, I felt just like Lena did. Empty and filled. Happy and sad. Excited and afraid. Hate and love.

And this is what I want to achieve. I don't just want to write a story that people find entertaining. A cliche book that mimics the layout of all the rest. I want it to breath out emotion, to rip into people's hearts and minds, to exist within them. I want them to skim through every page out of restless anticipation then go back to absorb every word. I want them to ache with the characters, thrive with the characters, bleed with the characters, weep with the characters.

Back to Delirium. I want to read this book again, because the first time I was so fraught with anxiety that the writing was obtrusive. But knowing what is coming will allow me to take in every line like a beautiful poem, each word written with purpose.

"I know that life isn't life if you just float through it. I know that the whole point- the only point- is to find the things that matter and hold onto them and fight for them and refuse to let them go."
— Lauren Oliver (Delirium)

I want to write with purpose. Maybe not with such flouncy descriptions as this book, but with this type of raw emotion. I want it to be real and heartbreaking. I want to literally cry as I write, because the characters are so alive and believable. This is what I hope to achieve and I will not rest until I have.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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