Feed – M T Anderson – 5 stars
In some ways, this book was all set up to really suck. The narrator – Titus – is ignorant, shallow, and overall a very frustrating character. The world is depressing, and it only gets worse. Not a great deal of action takes place. Even Titus’ friends are ignorant, shallow and frustrating, and frequently use such irritating terms as would equate to today’s ‘YOLO’.
And yet, somehow, by some act of what can only be some dark magic, M T Anderson weaves all these awful threads into a story that is not only haunting, but that I really couldn’t put down.
The plot circles around ‘the Feed’; an implantation in the brains of most Americans which keeps them connected to the Internet 24/7. Anderson throws his readers in at the deep end, taking very little time to explain anything and letting the reader pick up bits and pieces through Titus’ first-person prattle. By the end of the book, the slang was so familiar to me I’m pretty sure I almost called my mum ‘Unit’.
When Titus and his friends’ Feeds are hacked and they get temporarily shut down, I was completely expecting their lives to change, for them to rebel against the Feed and realise that what they were relying on was unnecessary to their lives. Nope. Except for Violet – who everyone thinks is strange, but in all actuality is the only character that is remotely sane.
I think what makes this book so hard-hitting is how frustrated we are with the characters who are slow, dim-witted and irritatingly superficial. Anderson masterfully shows everyone how the Feed eats away at their brains, and effectively tears apart the society. The world is falling to pieces, and no-one seems to care. At the end of the book the narrator describes off-hand how the flesh is peeling away from his mother’s face so that her teeth are permanently visible. AND HE ISN’T REPULSED.
The book doesn’t have a happy ending (in fact it’s pretty tragic), but its messages about consumerism and looking after the planet are clear and very poignant. What makes this book so amazing is that it takes heavy issues and inserts them into a form that isn’t hard to read, but is all the more hard-hitting and disturbing for that.
If you’ve read this too I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.