Friday, February 3, 2012

A Review of "Feed" [12]

Feed by M.T.Anderson
Listening Library, ISBN 978-0739356203
March 11, 2008

Oh, what is happening to my reading?
Yesterday it was a review of a memoir.
Today a YA book...and an audio book at that.
But then awhile back I read a glowing review of this book by Sandy at You've GOTTA Read This and Sandy is so often right..if a bit of an audio pusher.
And you know what? I like it.
I liked it a great deal.

In Feed, we are on Earth, sometime in the future. It is a world that is very different in many ways from the one we know, but, perhaps most frightening, most chilling, in many ways not that different at all.

It is a world dominated by the Feed, sort of the ultimate Internet, implanted, hardwired into the brain after the baby, conceived to the specifications of his or her 'parents' in the conceptionarium, is birthed. Speaking aloud is not even needed if you desire. You can just 'message' others through the Feed. Reading for the most part has disappeared. Who needs it when constant information is being piped into out brains, especially tailored to us..and our buying habits. Because it is all about buying a world controlled by the corporations with us as their constant customers.
It is a world that few who live in it question . Even as the physical, natural world around them is almost destroyed, people around the world die of mysterious illnesses, there are unexplained explosions and disasters and everyone is breaking out in weeping lesions, people just go along. No, just go along and make the lesions the must have accessory! Problem solved!

But for Titus, everything is going to be turned on it's head when he and a few of his friends go the resorts on the Moon for Spring Break. There he meets Violet, a girl unlike anyone he has ever met before. Home schooled, the daughter of a professor who teaches the dead languages, she was raised to think for herself, to question things. And sadly, it may be her undoing.
While in a club on the moon, the group are infected by a virus that attacks their Feeds. It is a serious thing, but one the can be fixed..except for Violet. It seems she has an inferior Feed, implanted when she was a child, not at birth like most people, and therefore not as integrated into her system. So slowly, but relentlessly, it is shutting her down, system by system.

While at times this book is funny, and always entertaining, at it's heart it is dark, a dark, thought provoking satire of so much of our culture. Yes, it may be about our possibly future, but more upsetting, it is about our present, about a world of consumerism and conformity, a world where reading and writing and conversations are increasing replaced by texting and tweets and every form of Social Media. Is Titus' world so very different from our own, where we are constantly bombarded with information from our TVs, our phones, our tablets, our laptops, where people spend their days with earplugs blaring noise into their heads?

Violet and Titus are excellent characters, very believable, especially Titus in all his self centered, teenage boy-ness. At times, you will hate him, be so angry at what he does and does not do, but it is always very real and we never stop hoping that somehow, maybe, he will emerge a better person for it. Will he?
And I must say, even if it pains me a bit, that this is a book that seems designed for the audio format. Each chapter, we get to listen into the Feed, we are a part of the ads the tie into what is going on, often in a very creepy way. We hear the messagings between characters, with a slight echo that is perfect, alerting us to the change. And the constant slang, that might be difficult to understand if you were reading it, seems so natural as you listen to the characters. Even the constant use of the "F" word...and it is used in this book as much as in any book I have ever read, might be grating when read, but is not surprising in the mouths of these teenagers, trying to act all grown up but living in a nightmare. Narrated by David Aaron Baker, he gets that whiny, teen voice of Titus just perfect.
Yes, even if you are not a fan of audio books, and I have my issues with the format usually, this is one I would totally recommend.

This book is recommended for kids 14 and up, but honestly I can see many would have a problem with that. Between the language..and some mild sexual references..I would aim a bit older. But without question, this book raises a number of issues that I would think could lead to some great discussions with teenagers.
Not that you adults will not be challenged to think about a few things too.

An entertaining, funny, oh so sad, thought provoking book that I highly recommend.


  1. Thanks, it sounds good but I am not able to stay awake listening to an audio book .. within minutes I am sleeping ..

  2. I listened to it in my car...the small number of disks, just four, was perfect for the CD changer in my auto, Betty White.

    Ok, I had to drive around a deserted Ocean City for an extra hour the other evening to listen to the end..I had to find out what happen and it was so sad...

  3. Well, between you and Sandy, I feel like I have to get hold of this book.

  4. Sandy is a master of getting me to listen to audios … and now you've convinced me this is another one I need to try. It does sound like it is meant to be listened to rather than read.

  5. I read this in print, but also found it very thought provoking. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  6. I actually think 14 is just the right age for Feed. I read it at that age and was struck by the intelligence and actuality of it, as well as the way it doesn't ever talk down to teenage readers. It's a great book for both boys and girls and ranks highly in my list of quality young adult fiction.

    As for the audio edition, I have to admit that I'm a bit curious as to how the ending translates into audio book form, as it's very distinctly presented in the print edition... Either way, regardless the medium, a very good book.


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!