100-Character Breakdown: Perfect voice, imaginative world building. A triumph in its depiction of consumerism and information.
Genre: Sci-fi, young adult, dystopian
Publisher: Candlewick Press (2002)
M.T. Anderson’s Feed is one book that certainly deserves to stand the test of time. Even 14 years after its original publication, it’s still a fresh and relevant read. In this future, most of the U.S.’s population is hooked up to the feed. The feed is the Internet on steroids — people can access any information and entertainment through their mind, they can chat to anyone else on the feed, and they are also constantly connected to corporations that use people’s preferences to spam them with never ending advertisements. At the start of the novel, Titus and his friends are going to spend spring break on the moon. There, they meet Violet, who could not be more different than them. While Titus and his friends have been hooked up to the feed all their lives, Violet has not. She introduces Titus to the idea of resisting the feed. Everything changes from there.
As we learn more about Titus and the world around him, it becomes clearer and clearer that this novel is an absolute triumph in its depiction of consumerism and information. There is a satire aspect to the book that enhances that depiction and the characterization. Titus, along with most of the other characters, reveal a severe decline in language and critical thinking. Anderson delves so deeply into Titus’s mind; the first-person voice is incredible. Based on the life he’s lived, Titus feels genuine and real, though not always likable. If anything, this book is worth a read for the transformative exercise in voice. There was a clear apathy in the characters and the world around them, and the advertisements within the feed add an unreliability to the narrator. While there are aspects of Titus we can relate to, his way of thinking is so different because of his reliance on the feed. Meanwhile, there’s Violet. I found myself liking her so much more and finding a beauty in her character Anderson likely left out of the other characters on purpose. With such imaginative world building, incredible narrative, and a thought-provoking look at how we view information, it is well worth it to spend some time hooked up to Feed.