Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: Feed by M.T. Anderson

Title: Feed
Author: M.T. Anderson
Series: N/A
Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 299
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Bought

Goodreads Description:
Spending time partying on the moon and riding around in his "upcar," Titus is an average teen of the future, complete with a computer chip implant -- the "Feed" -- that lets corporate marketers and government agencies broadcast directly into his brain. Then Titus meets Violet, and an anti-Feed hacker shuts down their Feeds for a short time; but when Violet's Feed is seriously damaged, she begins spouting some radical ideas. 

What a weird book. It's a mix of Sci-Fi and Dystopian, which actually now that I think about it, dystopian books are all relatively sci-fi...anyways...This was a book I read for my Young Adult Literature class here at university. My big problem with fiction that can be read as an educational tool, is that I tend to personally not enjoy the reading of the book, but I can't rate it low because it has a really good message/meaning/etc. That is kind of the case with this book. I really liked it at first, but then the superfluous and uncaring attitude of all of the characters really rubbed me the wrong way and I just couldn't say that I really enjoyed it after that.But despite that, you can't fault the book for the characters, because they have that attitude for a reason and it furthers the book and the whole underlying theme. Talk about frustrating... Basically, the American people have had "feeds" implanted in their brains. These are combo phones, TVs, music, movies, Internet... basically everything you could think of rolled into one device that's planted inside you and accessible 24/7. This is good in a way, because you can communicate and talk and everything by thinking about it, no hands needed. But  you are also subjected to pop-up and advertisements and things that you can't escape because they are planed in your brain  *shudders* It's consumerism to the max and you can't help but see parallels to today's society.

This world is really scary, simply because I can see us eventually evolving to this kind of society in the future. It would start with implanting an identity chip or something, which we do with our children. Really. Parents now have an option to implant their children with a GPS. Now this has it's benefits, i.e finding your children if they are lost...but we are hovering dangerously close to a kind of world that would have terrified our ancestors, even the ones who were only born a few generations ago. If everyone has a gps tracker, just who could find us and why, and then if we can implant GPS systems, just what else can we do? Licenses? Insurance information? Passports? You have to admit that having all that information permanently inside you would be convenient. You would never forget you paperwork on the way to the airport, or lose it while traveling...all you would have to do is walk up and scan your bar code when you get to the airport and BAM done. Tempting huh? Well, read Feed, and you will find that the temptation has less measure.

I was totally put off by the dialogue and slang in the book. These kids have pretty much learned an entire new language that sounds only remotely like English. Things like meg! and Thing! and Omigod! have almost entirely replaced words. Everyone has been so dumbed down by their feed that they no longer actually learn words. They just say random gobbledygook that you can't even begin to understand. Then I had a rather terrifying thought...we (as in the modern people) already sound kind of like this. Sure we might have a larger vocab, but how many people use text-speak in person. I go to college, one of the supposedly "smartest" places that you can be, and I frequently hear conversations like: "Like, OMG Becky that is for Shiz, lame to the 3rd power. Let's hit up the Tac." Which can be translated to " Oh my god Becky, that is really really horrible, lets go get some Taco Bell." How many people could understand that today, let alone 100 years ago? This book supposedly takes place in the relatively near future, and it's kind of a terrifying thought to end up like these callous and ridiculous people.

The characters in this book are mostly mindless consumers. They have been brainwashed since infancy to spend money. They don't use the tools in the world around them, rather, they live constantly in a virtual world. They spend money at the drop of a hat just because their feeds advertise a sale or a new product. The narrator Titus was a little different, and actually thinks for himself occasionally.  When he meets Violet, a girl who only had her feed implanted during her teens rather than infancy like everyone else, he actually is interested by her. She is way more original than anyone else, and is also really smart because she had developed her brain before being implanted so she can actually think for herself. Everyone else in the world who uses their feed to interpret, read, think, everything.  The plot really bothered me. It was excellently executed, but was so disturbing and sad that I was left with a really depressed feeling at the end of the book.
My problem right now is that Feed almost deserves two ratings. If I was rating it on intellectual awesomeness and relativity to today's society I would give it a 4 1/2 Keys, if not 5. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean I really enjoyed it all that much. Thus the 3 Key rating...This was a very heavy satire about our present lifestyle. It was kind of like Brave New World meets  I was pretty disturbed by it. Normally, I love dystopian books because, though they speak of a future that could potentially happen to us, they are typically so out of the ordinary that you have to think they would only take place in the far FAR distant future. Not the case with Feed. It was incredibly eerie, because we are almost there. Our iPads and iPhones, and Androids are basically a feed that we access with our hands, rather than directly with our brains. I would read this if I were you. It is really interesting and definitely something that gets you thinking.

No comments:

Post a Comment