Feed is a chilling novel set in the future were computers are hardwired into people’s brains as babies, making them completely dependent on technology. These people seem to have few original thoughts, are consumed by materialism and are at the complete mercy of corporations. Children no longer need to learn anything anymore, since the feed in their brains will give them answers instantaneously. Because of this, the teens in the novel, including the narrator, are inarticulate and immature. The adults are not much better. Even so, Anderson makes them sympathetic, tragic in a way.
I think the scariest thing about this novel is how real it felt. Imagine how people felt upon reading Orwell’s 1984 when it was first released. Feed has much the same feeling. These kids are so dependent on the technology in their brains that the brain forgets how to operate. When the system goes down, so does the body.
Feed is not all doom and gloom. There are some funny and intelligent moments as well. The kids’ favorite TV show is called “Oh? Wow! Thing!” and the girls have to sneak off to the restrooms to change their hairstyles every so often in order to keep up with the constantly changing trends. Pollution is massive in this future world, and people are developing festering skin legions and losing their hair. Rather than being concerned, they set the sores on display as a new fashion statement.
Obviously, the main theme of this book is to warn against the growing influence of technology and consumerism in our lives. While this is heavy stuff, the book remains entertaining. I would suggest that most teens read it, although there is some bad language used. If parents are sensitive to that, this might not be something they want their teens reading. I’m not a parent, but even if I were, I feel the ideas contained in this book outweigh the objectionable language. This would make a really good discussion book for a book club or classroom.
Overall, I give Feed…
Plot – 4 bookmarks
Character Development – 3 ½ bookmarks
World Building – 4 bookmarks
Intellectual Stimulation – 5 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Hunter Parrish (Titus), Portia Doubleday (Violet)