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Feed by M.T. Anderson
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's review
Aug 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi, young-adult

Titus is an average teen in futuristic America when everyone has a chip implanted inside their brains that brings them the "Feed," an advanced version of the internet where everything and anything you could want is just a thought away. Don't know what you want? Don't worry, the feed does and will let you know. But when he meets Viola, a girl who didn't grow up with the feed, he slowly gains a different outlook on what his world is and nothing is ever the same.

My only other experience with Anderson's work until now was his highly praised Octavain Nothing series, which I found difficult to get into. It takes alot to sell a period voice to me. Feed also possesses it's own very unique voice, consisting of its own individual slang that is almost a watered down version of Clockwork Orange's. But unlike Octavian Nothing, I felt the voice really helped me settle into this futuristic world and it wasn't long when I almost starting saying "Unit," in my own conversations. It's that engrossing.

Surrounding the events of the novel is the depiction of the dangers of consumerism. While this idea is obvious from the outset and I was worried that the message would seem heavy handed, Anderson hands the theme cleverly. Titus never has this one breakout moment of clarity (the closest thing is the book's ending and even that personal revelation is shaped by the movie industry) or becomes a part of a movement to take down capitalism or anything particularly cliche like that. Viola, who I was expecting to be this anti-feed voice of reason, is more realistically handled as the girl on the outside looking in. She wants her feed to be like everyone else's, which I thought was much more fitting and realistic for a kid to behave in her situation. Overall, the characters never break free of the feed, and Anderson leaves the learning up to the reader, which is how the idea should have been handled.

Overall, I found the book interesting on top of entertaining. Although there is no big action sequences or dramatic revelations, the story unfolds at a solid pace and fits what Anderson's trying to convey. I am a media hound myself and would love to have something as engrossing as a feed. It's freaking cool, to be honest. But the dangers of over saturation are certainly there, and Feed does a great job of conveying the message in a subtle way that never feels desperate of cliche. A great read for adults and a definitely must read for teens living in their own fees today.

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