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"Delirium", The Children's Book And The Forbidden Love

Updated on October 4, 2011

In the novel "Delirium" by Lauren Oliver, the story takes place in the midst of Lena Haloway’s dystopian society. In this society, love is considered dangerous and forbidden. According to the government of this place, amor deliria nervosa, the love disease, is a very serious disease. When someone is affected by this, the person becomes emotionally and physically useless. The scientists of this place find a cure for this. Every person who attains the age of 18, should undergo an invasive operation for protecting himself or herself from the disease and remove the feelings of love from the mind. Lauren Oliver, the award-winning author of this book, writes about the story of a girl who is also led to believe that love is forbidden and is to be feared. But, this belief lasts only till she meets a boy, Alex. Her mind and life undergo a complete transformation after this.

In this story, Lena Haloway, the girl will be turning eighteen in 95 days and she has to undergo the operation that will eradicate love feelings from her mind. This operation will protect her from amor deliria nervosa, that is considered a dangerous disease in that place. The Safety, Health and Happiness Handbook of this place, that is otherwise known as The Book of Shhh, says that if a person is affected by this disease, there will be symptoms such as loss of focus, sweaty palms and breathing difficulties. The person will not be able to make rational decisions also. When Lena meets Alex, she has all these symptoms. The new feelings put her mind in a turmoil and she starts fearing that she and Alex will be sentenced to death penalty if they are caught. But, she also discovers that he does not live in her place. He lives outside the borders of her city.

She slowly begins the process of questioning the motives and logic of her family and the society. When she does that, she unravels a few hidden secrets. This process leads her to a risky and dangerous plan that may help her and Alex to escape.

The author, Lauren Oliver, wrote her first book, "If I Fall" and it also received rave reviews. It was also named as one of the best books for children for 2010 by Publishers Weekly.

This book, "Delirium" is original and exciting. Children above 14 will find it highly interesting. It is sure to pound their hearts. Firstly, the storyline is unusual. Secondly, the hidden secret and danger of the forbidden love make the story all the more exciting. The writing and the usage of words are of poetic nature. To quote an example, when Lena describes her feelings for Alex, she says, “Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That’s what it is: an edge; a razor".

The novel contains the right elements of a dystopian novel in the right doses. Through various sequence of events, the novel takes you to a tense ending. But, it leaves you in suspense and you should wait for the second book "Pandemonium" that is due to be released in 2012.


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