The social media trends of our time are extrapolated into the future in this fascinating novel. Instead of having newsfeeds on a computer, everyone has a chip in their brains connecting them with social media, marketing, online shopping, communication and information instantly.
The protagonist is a teenage boy, Titus. He meets a girl while out partying with friends on the moon (yes, the moon). Violet is different. She doesn’t buy into the consumerism that pervades the others through their feeds. She still knows how to read and write. She’s interested in politics and obscure history.
While on the moon the group of friends are exposed to a protest hacker and get arrested. They have to be checked for lasting damage. While most of them escape unscathed, one person’s feed is damaged. The following deterioration of the feeds function and it’s impact on the human body in a way reflects the dangers of dependence on technology.
The first few pages are littered with a lot of invented slang and jargon which took me a while to get past, but after a few chapters they were almost catchy.
Through the relationship between Violet and Titus the author explores some interesting issues. The way corporations and consumerism control humans. The way we are manipulated by media all the time, sometimes without even knowing it. The growing prevalence of visual and oral communication at the expense of literacy.
Critics have compared the novel to dystopian classics such as Orwell’s 1984 and hailed it as a classic novel of our time. I agree to an extent however I think the concepts and issues presented were more compelling than the character development and relationships. For me this is what detracts from Feed, why do we read if stories if not for their characters?
However, the story world is a fascinating insight into the not entirely impossible future. I enjoyed it because it got me thinking about society and I think it would be great for younger readers for this very reason. It’s a really quick read too. I read most of it in one sitting.
Other issues raised by Feed include sustainability, drug use, relationships, illiteracy, fair trade, corruption of power and the growing gap between rich and poor.
Read it if: You’re a teenager who enjoys dystopian fiction. You are interested in issues around social media. You want teenagers to think more about their Facebook use. You are always on the lookout for books with male protagonists. You just want a quick and interesting read! (Sound like you? Buy it here.)
My rating: 3/5