Imagine living in a world where love is a disease. Amor deliria nervosa is the government’s name for it. Around age eighteen, you are required to undergo a surgery that will cure you from this destructive ailment. Are you excited for the procedure so that you can begin your “normal” life? Are you apprehensive? Or has what you’ve been told about love all a lie?
This is what Lena, the novel’s protagonist, discovers not long before her surgery when she meets and falls in love with a boy named Alex, who has also not been cured and lives outside the city fences in the Wilds with the rest of the outlaws, who are called “Invalids.” From there, and throughout the course of the three books (Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem), Lena learns about the power love can have and the truths that the government—and her family—have been hiding.
Something that I found intriguing about this trilogy was how the government sees love (both romantic and unromantic) as something dangerous. As something worth eliminating in order to reduce pain. I feel like this distorted view of what love really is can be how we tend to view it sometimes, too. After painful experiences, we will often build up walls and try to numb our hurt by not allowing ourselves to love anyone deeply again. But does this really accomplish anything? It’s definitely wise to protect ourselves, but I think it is dangerous to start taking it to the point where we view love as a weakness. After all, Jesus gave us the commandment to love each other as he has first loved us (John 13:34).
So imagine again that you are in a world where you are required to be “cured” from love. Would you go along with it? It would eliminate some emotional pain, but it would also eliminate any kind of joy or emotional connection you have with others. Is it worth it?