Author: M.T. Anderson
Release Date: September 23rd, 2002
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought for my YA Lit Class
Summary (goodreads.com): Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains.
For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.
Titus’ world scares the ever-living stuffing out of me. M.T. Anderson has created a world that seems incredibly plausible to me. Everything that happens to Titus and Violet could happen to us in the future. The best part of Feed was the language and his use of it to help characterize the main characters. He channeled teenagers better than any YA author I have ever read. Titus describes conversation a lot like I do when he’s chatting with his chat on the feed (examples: and then she was all… and then he was like…). This was so similar to how I describe conversations that I actually got freaked out and I liked that I was able to draw such a strong connection. On the other hand some of the language Anderson had the characters use confused me. Their slang, for example, was futuristic and confusing. I feel like a futuristic slang dictionary would have been helpful. After a while I understood some terms but a lot of the time I was left guessing and I think that if I knew what the heck some of the words meant I would have gotten a better grasp of the characters. Despite all of the excellent characterization using language it was still really had to connect to the characters at first because I am so far removed from their setting. This might also be because I have never been one for science fiction like this. Normally I wouldn't have picked this book up and if I had a choice I wouldn't have made it more than twenty pages in because it was so hard to connect with.
One of the creepiest parts of Feed was the ads. The novel is interspersed with sections of sample ads that are transmitted through the feed. I think that was a really interesting way of conveying how disruptive they are. They always caught me off guard and I always had the urge to skip over them because they got in the way of the plot. They were doing exactly what they were supposed to do. They got me to think about if I had a feed and had to have these commercials fed directly into my brain all the time. I'd go crazy or I would learn to ignore them, just like I ignore my facebook ads! I really liked Violet’s idea to beat the system when it came to the ads. The ads of the novel are extremely personalized to each individual person, much like the ads of facebook. After I read Feed I checked my facebook to see if the ads they had would be things I was interested in. Six out of six were spot on. There were ads for New Zealand’s Middle Earth tour, Harper Voyager books, book scout, Amazon’s Kindle, This is Teen, and a Jack Skellington cake. This drove the idea of Feed home for me.
Anderson did a fantastic job portraying a society that has taken technology to far. The internet has literally become their brains, so much so that without the feed people couldn’t function in society and if the feed itself malfunctions I suggest you start saying goodbye because you will not survive! I really hope this book makes others think about how much we rely on technology and how it is making our society worse rather than better.