Feed by M. T. Anderson
Walker, 2018 (2002, 2012). ISBN 9781406345209
(Ages: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Dystopian fiction. Future. I reviewed this book on its rerelease in 2012, and said: "about to be released as a film, this republication of the award winning novel by American author, M. T. Anderson, Feed will engage a new generation of readers as they like me are amazed at the predictions shown in a dystopian future written 10 years ago. Uncannily many of these are now part and parcel of the Y Generation's lives. Feed, is a word describing the constant marketing material pumped into their brains through an implant inserted at birth. Some 'unlucky' ones have this done later in life, and so Violet, who was home schooled and has odd parents, is outside the usual thirst to be connected 24 hours a day. It is she who when her implant begins to fail, see things differently from the friendship group she has just formed and as an outsider, pulls Titus along with her.
On the moon for an experience, the group is invaded by a virus which makes their feeds malfunction. It is fascinating to see them all cope without the feed, just as Generation Y today cannot cope without their mobile phones and internet access. Anderson was certainly right on target with his prophecies about the future, and his darkly ironic story is most engaging. For an older spectator like me, the images created along with the ideas of a whole society simply being fed information, music, advertisements 24 hours a day was alarming, but to many not so. Being 'tuned in' or wired, is given a whole new level of meaning in this stunning book. Not only advertisements and information, but a transference of texts rather like emails is sent and received between the teenagers, allowing them to chat to each other without a third person knowing. It is incredibly unnerving, foretelling an appalling future.
An informative web site gives further facts about the book and background information as well as a discussion of its impact. The book won two major awards in the US in 2003." And it has appeared on my desk for a third time (2018) with comments on Walker Books' website showing why it has been republished. It is reissued in paperback with an appealing new cover, in conjunction with reissues of Thirsty and Burger Wuss and with the publication of Landscape With Invisible Hand. It is the winner of the L.A. Times Book Award and a National Book Award Finalist, and is a classic of YA dystopian literature, still relevant after 15 years. And it certainly is. It still astounds me that this was written 15 years ago.