I thought I'd share a young adult book review with you today. I recently read online a comment someone made to the effect that adults who read young adult literature do so because they are too immature to handle adult novels. Grr! That really burns my posterior. I want to assure you, nothing could be further from the truth. To prove that young adult stands on it's own in the literary world, I thought I'd showcase a book or two on the blog here from time to time.
This review is one I previously posted on Goodreads. If you haven't yet discovered Goodreads, please hop on over and check it out. It's like Facebook for book people. And make sure you add me as a friend!
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Woah, unit! How do I even begin to review Feed by M.T. Anderson? As a writer, I’m in awe. As a reader, I’m simultaneously intrigued and repulsed by this vision of what our future could be. This review could be somewhat spoilerish, but I promise not to get into specifics.
Feed is the story of Titus, a typical teenager with a constant internet link running in his head 24/7, encouraging him to consume goods and services every waking moment of his life. Kind of like a permanent Google Glass in your brain. When he meets Violet, he begins to realize there’s a world outside the feed of which he is totally ignorant. When Violet’s feed is hacked, she starts to fall apart mentally and physically and Titus is overwhelmed.
I read a criticism of the book that suggested Titus never changes as a character, but that’s not true. He’s not a likeable person, but that’s the point of the book. He’s intimately attached to the feed. It’s the only thing he’s ever known. Life without it is terrifying. At the very end, when he finally does open his eyes to what’s truly going on in the world around him, it’s too late. Way, way too late for him and everyone else around him. The feed is in every cell of his body. The oceans are so polluted you can’t touch them. Trees are torn down to build air factories in their place. The snow is black. People are convinced by the feed their skin lesions are fashionable, attractive even. There’s nothing Titus can do except stare his own death in the face, and he knows it.
Feed is a highly exaggerated treatise on what could happen if we allow corporations to completely take over our government. Some would argue they already have. Laws and regulations are created and repealed so corporations can sell us more cars and oil and guns and cheap goods from China every day. Sometimes it does seem like Americans just want more and more and more stuff without caring what the environmental or social cost may be. My only qualm with the book is the plot itself is so simple as to be almost non-existent. Boy meets girl, girl challenges boy, they break up, boy is forced to realize his own pathetic existence against his will.
I’m sure this is Anderson’s point though, that once you sell your heart, soul, and government to consumerism, there will be no way of turning back the tide. Your life will become shallow and simple. It will consume you until all your money is gone and then discard you. Need health care? You aren’t much of a consumer, so sorry, you’ve become a bad investment. Oh? Would you like to buy some overpriced jeans?