Mar 30, 2011

Feed by M.T. Anderson


I either have to stop reading young adult dystopian novels or else somehow stop judging them by the same standards I use for adult books. Really, only a few rise to meet the challenge - A Wrinkle in Time comes to mind - but quite a few of the rest have their own strengths.

Feed is one of those. Better than most of the rest of the youth fare (if only because there's no perfect hero or last minute win), but not exactly up to the level of some of the more grown up works. I tend to enjoy this sort of corporate rule/your mind is not your own plot. I guess it falls into line with my own fears and suspicions. I have a weird love/hate with commercials and advertising. I like to unpack it, try to work out how an ad is supposed to make us do what the company wants. It's all just propaganda, and I'm fascinated by it. On the other hand, it's easy for me to look at it on a technical level, because I don't make enough money to actually buy anything.

That being said, the idea of all this bullshit - ads, chat, plans, pop culture - running through my mind constantly is, of course, hellish. That's some Harrison Bergeron shit right there. And I'm not just saying that kids should read that story and not bother with Feed (although, if they are going to pick up just one, I bet you can guess the one I would suggest). Anderson does some interesting stuff, both stylistically and storywise. Speech tattoos, for instance, that require you to include one particular word in every sentence - that's the kind of detail I think about afterward.

Okay, I read this at least six months ago, so I'm probably forgetting some of what I wanted to discuss about it. That being said, that I remember so much from this book shows that at least some of it was worth holding onto.

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