Feed

“The spotlights wobbled over the Clouds™. The pyramid glowed. I rose up into the sky and turned the feed on to songs about people allowed to get out of the same bed, and to eat breakfast together, two toasts on the very same plate.” (Feed by M. T. Anderson).

Feed CoverI am sitting here next to a backlog of books over a foot high – I have been reading up a veritable YA storm, but I suppose it takes a book like Feed to get me out of my non-writing rut. A book I read this weekend, The White Darkness  quoted Kafka, “A book must be an ice-axe to break the sea frozen inside us.” While that book interpreted the saying literally, with an antarctic setting, Feed is the first ice-axe book that I’ve read so far out of the large body of YA literature selected for my class. The romance was touching and creative, the casual mention of skin lesions haunting, and the feed itself terrifying. If we had the feed, this would be my banner, directly transmitted into your mind: If you like your science fiction riveting and ominous, and language so couched in futuristic slang that you can’t see straight, purchase M. T. Anderson’s Feed today (only 16.99).

The reason why I chose this book was that my teacher mentioned that it used to be on the reading list, but previous classes thought the book too out-dated (how, I ask you, can a book about the future be outdated?). I have quickly learned this semester that ‘out-dated’, according to the modern YA reader, is code for ‘this book is for me’. The current trend of light-speed pacing and plots that tie themselves up in the last few sentences leaves me feeling dull and manipulated; I appreciate books that take their time, explore characterization, and have some fun playing with language and world-building. If that means that they were written a few years ago, so be it. In Feed, you won’t find that the main character, Titus, is engaged in any plots to save the world from its impending demise in the last chapter, nor will you discover anything mind-blowing about his past or parental units. Instead, the world quietly falls apart between the lines, while Titus tries to figure out what he felt about a girl, after its already too late. Feed doesn’t have a happy ending or a heroic character – no one is saved by science or magic at or before the last minute; but I, at least, like it all the better for that.

Reminds me of… a much scarier, more intimate Wall-e.

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5 thoughts on “Feed

  1. I, too, read Feed for a YA lit course and was blown away by it. I know it came out about a decade ago, but, seriously, why isn’t this book a bigger deal? It’s sensitive and subtle and just brilliantly written (also, pretty on trend since it’s a dystopian novel). It was definitely one of the best books I read from the class and, actually, one of the best books I read last year, period. Glad to know other people are still discovering it and enjoying it!

    • My theory is that it is dystopian, but not the kind of dystopian that is ‘cool’ at the moment; at least that is what I have gathered from my classmates. Apparently, cool dystopians are not really corporate dystopias these days – and, most importantly, in trendy dystopias the main teenage character is supposed to do something about the problem, and preferably save the world in the process. But, to me the fact that Titus was so immersed in the culture and hardly aware of the problems made it even more poignant. It is also an uncomfortable novel – and while uncomfortable fiction might make for great classics, they rarely make for popular reading.

  2. I would definitely call it dystopian, and a unique form of dystopian at that. If you ever get the time, you should try reading it as an audiobook. It is one of the few books that I would say is even better in audio-form!

    • That is really interesting! Is there a particular reason why it is better in audio? I would imagine that all of the slang (especially the TMs) would actually be hard to render in audio form.

  3. Pingback: A Clockwork Orange | Book Lion

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