(Cover picture courtesy of the M. T. Anderson Tumblr page.)
“We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”
So says Titus, a teenager whose ability to read, write, and even think for himself has been almost completely obliterated by his “feed,” a transmitter implanted directly into his brain. Feeds are a crucial part of life for Titus and his friends. But then Titus meets Violet, a girl unlike any he’s met—a girl who decides to fight the feed.
Feed was fairly predictable, following the typical ‘utopia is really a dystopia’ storyline: protagonist is completely unaware of the evils of a society until a rebel (always a member of the opposite sex) shows them how bad things really are. The only real difference is the ending, but that’s enough to hammer Anderson’s point across: technology shouldn’t be a substitute for our own brains. When we rely too much on technology, we lose that critical thinking ability.
The latter point is really hammered across in like the whole style thingy of the like book. It’s like woah, these kids are stupid and all. Yes, the whole book, all 298 pages are written like that because the main character, Titus, is completely reliant on his feed. The only saving grace is Violet, who can actually communicate and uses ‘big words’ to get her point across. I know the poor writing is a great way for Anderson to get his message to readers, but it still gets really, really annoying. Maybe that’s just me, though.
I can see why Feed is studied in so many high school English classes. I never studied it, but I can see why it would be a great novel study book kids can relate to. It brings up important questions that are more relevant today than they were in 2002 when it was first published. The question of whether technology is making us stupid, how technology would really be used in the classroom (hint: not for educational value) and how much of a place corporations should have in our everyday lives could really start some interesting debates. The best part of Feed is that Anderson doesn’t really specifically answer those questions, but leaves them up to the reader.
I give this book 3.5/5 stars.