After the company “The Circle” took over the Internet, it bought an online retailer named after a south American jungle to also operate online buying and selling. With the new name “The Every”, Mae Holland can now control large parts of the people’s every-day life. Delaney Wells has done a lot to become a part of The Every, yet not out of fascination for the company but because she is seeking revenge. The company is too strong to be attacked from the outside, she needs to get inside to destroy it. Together with her roommate Wes, she develops a strategy: making more and more absurd suggestions for apps so that people see what the company is really after. However, their idea does not work, instead of being repelled, people eagerly embrace the new ideas which limit their lives increasingly.
I was fascinated by Dave Egger’s novel “The Circle” a couple of years ago. “The Every”, the second instalment, shows the mission to destroy what he has created. Delaney Wells is a clever and courageous protagonist who consistently follows her goal. Yet, the novel could not fully meet my expectations, it was a bit lengthy at times and the developments were quite foreseeable.
Delaney’s strategy of proposing ever more absurd apps to control people – which words they use, rating their interaction with others and their capacity of being a “friend” – push the development further and further. The line of argumentation that The Every uses is quite convincing: who wouldn’t prefer to live in a safe place where people use words which do not create bad feelings in others, who wouldn’t like to be a better person and most of all, who wouldn’t be willing to abstain from harming behaviour to protect nature?
Eggers just goes one step further and shows how the characters fall prey to the traps which actually are quite obvious. However, this is what they want since it makes life easier. They do not have to make decisions anymore, everything is foreseeable and in good order. Thinking for yourself is exhausting, so why not hand it over do the company? Even though this aspect is well established, I could have done with less apps, the twentieth invention does not add any new aspect to the plot.
A small group of anarchists tries to resist, yet they are too weak and the intellectuals are not heard. Wes’ development throughout the plot, unfortunately, is also very predictable, I would have preferred some surprises here. Eggers certainly can to better than just use well-known set pieces.
The idea is great and the protagonist is well-created but the author could have made more out of it. Some scenes – Delaney’s trip to the ocean and the aftermaths – are brilliant as is the line of argumentation that the company uses to manipulate. Yet, it is a bit lengthy and unoriginal in its progress.