Feed Review

FeedFeed by M.T. Anderson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Feed is set in futuristic America during a time of extreme consumerism. It features a group of teenagers who are connected to the Internet through an implant in their brains known as the feed. The feed was surgically placed within their brains and they have lived with it so long that their bodies now rely on the feed in order to function properly. Everything, even school™ and air, has been manipulated by consumerism. The teens in the novel brilliantly represent how stupid society has become because of the feed. There is no need to memorize or learn information because the feed is always there when they are having trouble figuring out a word or an answer to a question. Even the simplest of questions can be answered with the feed! Titus and his friends have grown up and been nurtured by the feed, but after a freak accident at a club on the moon, some choose to fight it and some go on as if nothing ever happened.

Every summary I stumbled across made me want to read Feed. The summary on Goodreads compared it to the writings of Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, and even Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World Revisited, all authors that I adored who had bright minds and the foresight to notice society’s problems before they became the norm.

A few pages into Feed, I kept wondering when all its weird vocabulary would be explained and when Anderson was going to give us some type of context to help construct this world he created. I think I understand a few things after completing it, but I was left with way too many questions about Titus’s world. This was mainly due to the teenagers’ slang and limited use of real communication.

Two stars. This is a case of an excellent concept mixed with poor construction. It was, like, meg confusing?

It’s pretty safe to say that I disliked Feed and had a difficult time coping with its jarring slang, but while I was forcibly gulping down Anderson’s malfunctioned dystopia, I was careful to note how relevant the concepts in the novel were.

In fact, the more I discussed the novel’s take on society with others who’d read it, the more I found myself saying positive things about it. I was in a similar position when I read The Road. The experience from reading the book was much more enjoyable than actually reading the book. My mind was in a much better place after I finished Feed than it was at any point during the plot. The concepts I loved, but the writing style I could really do without. I love to read through the eyes of a protagonist who is descriptive, witty, and grows because of his hardships. Titus was unaware of the feed’s interruption of the world around him, and instead of fighting it like I kept hoping he would, he embraced it more and more even though it was killing Violet.

Feed is horrifyingly relevant. Although it was written just before our society became magnetically engrossed with our smartphones, Anderson had the foresight to identify the human need to connect to the world. Teenagers and the majority of young adults today spend hours playing games and socializing on their phones through the Internet. We may use the excuse that we need to feel connected to the world around us, but it seems more like an excuse to disconnect from socialization altogether. I agree that it is sometimes easier to spend time with our smartphones than it is to share face-to-face contact with our family and friends. Communication is hard; especially actively listening to someone else when we already have so much going on in our own minds. Smartphones allow us to respond to communication at our own convenience rather than at the moment in time when we are really needed. Our handheld devices have had a heavy influence on our society since they became more affordable and popularized. Although I’m grateful that I can carry a computer with me and aid me at my whimsy, it scares me think about how much we are crippling ourselves because of it.

I am still trying to figure out the underlying cause of my discomfort with Feed, but I think the majority of it came from the characters’ dialogue with one another, how little they grew throughout the book, and the choppy feed advertisements randomly scattered about and never explained. Although we couldn’t get quite the same effect from reading from any other point of view, I found myself continuously wishing the shrill teenage dialogue could have been integrated into the novel a little differently. I felt that it distracted from the importance of Anderson’s themes, which is one of the few redeeming qualities about this book.

I fell in love with the premise behind Feed and the ideas it enforced, but the style was a definite deterrent.

Goodreads Rating: 3.54
Recommended for: Young Adult; Science Fiction; Like Way Meg Teens

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