Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Feed, by M.T. Anderson, is the next book for our book club. It's officially a Y.A. book, but I think very accessible at least to my age group as well. Feed takes place in the (not-so) distant future when everyone has a chip in their head that's kind of like the internet and facebook. People "chat" even when they're standing right next to each other, and, when the characters go to the mall and walk in a store, they instantly get a feed from the store with ads and prizes based on their previous purchases. Basically it's the dystopian future where the entire culture is consumer-based and corporate-owned and naturally, the environments a wreck. People have lesions on their skin, but even the lesions are consumerized and it becomes cool to have lesions of certain placement, size and shape.

You know in a teen movie where there's this group of good-looking rich kids that goof off and are kind of jerks? The main character is one of those. He falls for this girl, Violet, (on the moon!) and it turns out she's sort of anti-feed and anti-consumerism, but following her path is like, well, turning his back on everything he loves.

Some of the things I loved about this book was the creative language that Anderson employs. While some of the characters are so entrenched in the feed they can barely create a coherent sentence, he's created this goofy, idiotic, dumbed-down language and slang that even the President uses. Anderson's book is frighteningly close to reality, minus like, the flying cars. I think, like most good dystopian fiction, he merely expands upon reality to an absurd, but not impossible, conclusion.

One of my favorite parts, and I don't think I'll ruin it for you... is:
Violet was screaming, "Look at us! You don't have the feed! You are the feed! You're feed! You're being eaten! You're raised for food! Look at what you've made yourselves!" She pointed at Quendy, and went, "She's a monster! A monster! Covered with cuts! She's a creature!"

I think it's an important book, and I can see it being very productive to read it with a young(er) person. Or, any person - I read mine to husband on a car trip although he was a bit perplexed by the language. He kept stopping me to repeat and spell words. I'd say, "I don't know, youch, it says, y-o-u-c-h." It reminded me a lot of my favorite book of all time, The Handmaid's Tale - I will not be surprised if it claims a spot similar to Atwood's book, in the annals of, not just dystopian fiction or YA fiction, but simply excellent fiction.

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