Gave me chills.

The Circle - Dave Eggers

Creepy...but not in the traditional sense.  I don't know if anyone but me remembers the movie Anti-Trust.  Well, this was Anti-Trust crossed with Big Brother on steroids.  Rage-y steroids...*shudder*  I gave it five stars, because I could NOT put it down, even though I was thoroughly creeped out.


Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, basically all social media has been replaced by "Circling".  Working at the main Circle campus is everyone's dream.  (Sound eerily familiar yet?)  We follow a new employee named Mae, who thinks she's fallen into heaven. The place has everything, and then some.  Most people actually live on "campus", instead of maintaining offsite apartments.  The reader finds out why, soon enough - employees are not only expected to do the work assigned to them,  they are expected to be a part of the community, by participating heavily in "Circling" - commenting, "zinging", frowning, smiling. It's not only a full time job, it's their life. 


The general premise here is that the Circle demands real names, real addresses, social security numbers, etc.  There is no more internet anonymity, no more trolls.  Carrying the theme onward, soon people are installing "SeeCams", cameras no bigger than  your thumb, everywhere.  On buildings, in buildings, in their cars, even carrying them on their persons, to be what is called "transparent" , meaning their every action (except bathroom breaks and for some, sleeping), is broadcast to their circle of followers.  Once a few politicians decide that "transparency" is a good thing (no more secret meetings or deals), everyone starts jumping on the bandwagon and a completely "transparent" society is well on its way to being a reality.


The reader watches (in horror) as Mae gets completely caught up in the ideal of a transparent society - microchips for children (no more missing children, ever!),  a way to mark  and track convicted felons, (no more repeat offenders!), and as she's sucked farther and farther in to the ideal of transparency,  she even proposes mandatory Circle accounts, tied to forcing people to vote.  Democracy with 100% participation!  But the price she pays is that she never has a private moment unless its in a bathroom stall, and she is constantly 'onstage' due to the camera she carries. 


At this point, and after several personal tragedies, the reader would think (and hope), that Mae would realize that transparency comes with a high price.....