Thursday, February 03, 2011

Guest Post: A response to Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I have the great pleasure today in introducing Jo from Once Upon A Bookcase and Ink and Paper who's here today to talk about the beautiful Delirium by Lauren Oliver. This book is published today in hardback by Hodder, here is my review on my blog, and Jo's review at her's. Over to Jo...

When I was trying to think of what I could write about for this guest post, on such a powerful subject, there was only one direction I could take. As I write this, I am in the middle of reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver, and my head is full of this book and the way love is presented. There’s no way I could write a guest post about love without it involving this wonderful book.

For those of you who have yet to read Delirium, I’ll give you a quick summary. Lena lives in a world where love is an infectious disease, one so bad you can’t think clearly, you lose your focus, you go mental, and so on, until it eventually kills – or so they are all told. When a person reaches 18, they take the cure which leaves them free from love. Lena is really looking forward to taking the cure; a life without love is a life without pain, right? That is, until she meets Alex...

Before I go into what I think, I have to say how brilliant the whole idea of this book is. Oliver is just a genius. She’s based this book on actual “symptoms” of love. In the story, there is a book about everything to do with the disease and how to protect yourself against it, The Book of Shh, and there are some excerpts at the beginnings of chapters. The four different phases negatively describe the different effects of falling in love, and makes a strong case on why these effects, and love itself, are so bad. Oliver makes it so believable, and it’s completely understandable.

But reading Lena’s story, and seeing her life completely free from love, where she’s not even allowed to say the word and receives no affection from your family – who have taken the cure, and are no longer able to love in anyway, even familial love – and then watching her fall in love, catch this disease that is so feared and discover what it’s really like... well, it really hits home just how wonderful, and beautiful, and amazing love really is.

Yes, love is scary. Love is hard work. Love can hurt. It’ll take all your strength and courage just to trust someone with your heart. It can tear your world apart and leave its scars. It can haunt you once it’s gone and remind you of what you’ve lost. It can consume you, only to be chew you up and spit you out again. It can really suck quite a lot.

But it can also be the best thing to have ever touched your life. And it’s at this point that I struggle to word what I want to say – how can I really describe something that’s so... wow? Love. Such a small, four letter word for something so huge. What could be better than feeling something so strong for another person, and have them return it? To have that one person who knows you inside out, back to front, and upside down, who you can be completely yourself with, all of the time, and vice versa? To have even the worst of days be not so bad, because they’re there to hold your hand, and the best of days shine the brightest for the exact same reason? To drift away on a current so strong you would think you would drown, but a current that actually keeps you breathing? Even if things fall apart, what could be better? Isn’t it worth the risk?

As proven in Delirium, Mr William Shakespeare happens to have a wonderful way with words, and also says things a lot better than I ever could. So now I’ll share with you my favourite of his sonnets, Sonnet 116 – his view on what love is:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Isn’t that just completely beautiful?

If I am totally honest here, I’ve never been in love. All of what I have just said is based on impressions from movies, books, songs, and from seeing people I know in love. So no, I don’t exactly know what I’m talking about, but there are many who do, who took the risk, and are living that wonderful life, day in, day out. So if love is a disease, I’d gladly be infected.

After all, there’s no point in living if you can’t feel alive.

Absolutely incredible guest post by Jo from Once Upon A Bookcase. Jo, thank you so much. It's an honour to have you.


  1. Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Michelle! I really apprecaite it! Thank you also for all the links! :)

    Is it dorky that I end up smiling to myself when I read it, even though I wrote it myself? Lol.

  2. Great post! I enjoyed Delirium while I read it but you've reminded me of the deeper message in the book (and that I need to go buy myself a finished copy).

  3. Amazing review. I really want to read Delirium even more than I did before now!

  4. Jo, speaking as a happily married woman who married her soulmate, you have described love so accurately, that is brought tears to my eyes. You write so beautifully. I just love that whole love paragraph!

  5. Christina - Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it! :) Yes, you need your own copy!

    The Library Owl - Thank you! :) I'm sureyou're going to love it, it's amazing!

    Vivienne - Aww, thank you so much! That's just... wow! Thank you! :D

  6. Such a beautiful piece of writing, thank you so much to Jo for this. I did a big 'AWWWW' when I read it the first time, and I did it again reading it now :)

  7. Aw, thank you! I'm so glad people love it so much! :)

  8. Okay fine. I will add this to my list! Great post and yes, love is worth the risk.

  9. What a wonderful guest post. I have not yet read this book nore have I been in love, but I simply cannot imagine a world without it. Can't wait to read Delirium!

  10. Suey and Tammy - Oh, definitely do read Delirium, it's such a wonderful book!


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