Feed by M.T. Anderson: A Review
For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon—a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires.
I can honestly say I’m not sure how I feel about this book. It had some things in it I loved and things in it that made me want to abandon the book. Granted some of my issues may only be because I do not normally read satire or futuristic novels. But some of it is style.
M.T. Anderson drops you in the world Titus lives in without explanation. He uses his own made up slang on page one. I know I’m slow to pick up on slang, so other people may pick on what slang like “null” and “meg” mean faster than I did. They use the word “unit” a lot, which seems to be the equivalent of “dude” but for the longest time I thought that was Titus’ name.
Other parts of his style intrigued me. There were no official chapters in the book. What you would consider chapters are simply given titles, like “Awake,” “Bored,” and “The Nose Grid.” These chapters could also be a few pages long or two sentences long. The feed, which is basically the internet, frequently talks. And it’s not immediately clear why the feed is speaking–it just seems like you’re getting another sense of what having the feed in your head is like–until later in the book.
Their really isn’t a true plot. The book is high on teenage-angst, which never appealed to me even when I was a teenager. The characters are into the up-to-the-minute fashions, the newest toys and gadgets, movies, dating, etc. Titus meets Violet on the moon. They start a relationship, which further develops after the hacker temporarily malfunctions their feed.
The relationship continues back on earth. And I believe it was realistically shown. Between spring break and summer, when the story takes place, the two of them fight, have self-confidence issues, have fun together, learn from each other, and defend each other. However their are some inherent issues with their relationship. When Violet’s feed was hacked, it was permanently corrupted. The corrupted feed will eventually kill her, they’re just not sure when.
So, as selfish as his reasons seem, as poorly timed as it was–Violet was wanting to give Titus her virginity at the time–Titus breaks up with Violet. It is realistic, especially since the two of them have only known each other a few months. Obviously, the relationship doesn’t end with the break up. Here, Anderson kept true to human nature.
I would recommend this book, but with caution. The story is great. The message made clear without being preachy. But I wanted more specifics in places. And I didn’t like the narrative way the story was told. For those who like satire, dystopians and books filled with teen-angst, this may be a ‘must read.’