Author: M.T. Anderson
Reading Level: 6.7 grade level equivalent (according to Scholastic); however, due to
language and themes, I would recommend using this with high school students
Synopsis: On a spring break trip to the moon, Titus and his friends are hoping to have a
“meg” cool time, but it turns out to be totally “null” instead. The novel immediately throws readers into the fast-paced world of the future, complete with new slang, new technology, and new customs. In this world, the vast majority of people have a feed implanted in their brains that allows them to search the internet, “chat” with one another, and (most importantly for the corporations that control the world), receive advertisements and instantly order products. The feed is more than a piece of technology; it becomes a part of each person. Titus learns this all too well when Violet, a lovely girl he meets on the moon, starts to have malfunctions with her feed. Unfortunately for her, the feed cannot be turned off or removed, and Titus and Violet can do little to resist the merciless grip that technology has on their lives.
Context/Themes: This dystopian novel would provide a fascinating perspective in
addition to the themes presented in other novels like 1984 and Brave New World. With its emphasis on consumerism and technology, it is chillingly relevant to our contemporary society. As in other dystopian novels, Feed raises questions about how society (in this case, led by corporations) controls individuals and how our willingness to surrender our individuality may lead to disastrous consequences – if not for us, then certainly for future generations. By presenting the story through the eyes of a rather unlikeable narrator, the novel challenges us to consider whether we like the roles we play in a society that seems to value consumerism above humanity. While technology has not yet infiltrated our bodies like the feeds in the novel, our identities and interactions with other people are becoming increasingly dependent on digital gadgets and virtual worlds. Feed reminds us to consider what we might lose as we become seduced by technology that claims to improve our quality of life.