Following in the footsteps of Aldous Huxley, George Orwell and Kurt Vonnegut, M.T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world, and a smart, savage satire about the nature of consumerism and what it means to be a teenager in America.
©2002 M.T. Anderson; (P)2003 Random House, Inc., Listening Library, An Imprint Of Random House Audio Publishing Group
"Anderson deftly combines elements of today's teen scene...with imaginative and disturbing fantasy twists...This satire offers a thought-provoking and scathing indictment that may prod readers to examine the more sinister possibilities of corporate- and media-dominated culture." (Publishers Weekly)
"A gripping, intriguing and unique cautionary novel." (School Library Journal)
"This brilliant production for older teen listeners enhances Anderson's portrait of a world gone sour, in which even the adults have forgotten how to use language, and everything is dying, including the kids." (AudioFile)
I had actually read this book years ago. The fact that Audible had it on audiobook was among the biggest reasons I even joined the site.
The language is a bit hard to understand, I understand that's a big critique of this book. But it makes more sense to me to have it written the way it was. Yes, it's in some kind of slang and not exactly completely grammatically correct; But the book is a story being told from a teenager. In a world where grammar and linguistics are highly unimportant. It's the same way I feel about the Nadsat in Anthony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange". Yes, it's also vulgar at times. But again; Do teenagers not talk this way - At least, when not around their parents?
The story isn't very original, but it's well told. The language isn't perfect, but it fits well. While the narrator wasn't great, he did a fair job.
I say give this book a listen, especially if you're closer to the teen range. 16-20 is perfect, in my opinion. It's message isn't limited to "internet overload" or "saving the earth"; It is my opinion that what you're supposed to take away from this book is the importance of having a desire to learn. Learn as much as you can, while you have the time. And don't just take what information other people hand you.
I don't remember when or how I first heard about this book but it took me a long time to finally read/listen to it. I'm glad I ended up getting this in audiobook format as it's an excellent production, from the narrator's performance to how the snippets of "Feed" were presented. The story itself was unexpectedly strong kept pulling me along so I didn't want to stop listening. The book is a mix of a few devices/themes including the unfamiliar slang of A Clockwork Orange, the satirical advertising of Grand Theft Auto radio stations, and the media critique of the UK television series Black Mirror -- but it takes these in its own direction. Dystopian stories have become more popular lately but this take, although more than a decade old, still holds up.
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Feed wasn't written to be enjoyable as much as it was written to point at some of the most uncomfortable aspects of our society. What made this less enjoyable realizing that it was written in 2003 before most of the online website and purchase tracking was as prolific as it obviously is now. I think the highlight of this story is that its lack of enjoyability.
Having listened to this book outside of class, and then having reviewed that actual, physical text for class, I noticed a lot differences. There are some peripheral examples, like the fact that Baker refers to the school as SCHOOL inc., where as the book has printed SCHOOL TM, but those are mostly material. What struck me, and made me harshly aware that I was listening to an audiobook rather than reading a book is the transitions that authors uses to sometimes represent the movement of the story. These breaks consists of blips and excerpts from what we can assume is the modern media of Feed's world. These are commercials for products, presidential speeches, and clips of dystopian cyberpop, and they generally inform us about the political and educational climates of Anderson's world. Where in the text these blips would obviously just be represented by words on pages, the audiobook utilizes its audible element to create actual sound bytes. I think this is important because while it blatantly separates the experience of hearing the book from reading it, it also emphasizes the benefits of multimodal media (which i support as a cool sort of genre of media).
Anderson's Feed creates an apt examination of an increasingly connected, digital America. The story is intended more for reflection than for the exciting, street-samurai plot one might expect from this sort of cyberpunk distopian genre. I don't think we're intended to like the character, or necessarily the story. Nevertheless, this is an important and (hopefully extreme) prediction of how humanity can contort the intentions of technology. Having read this ten years after it was written, and only a few weeks after the now ominous announcement of google's smart glasses, I really appreciate this story and I recommend it to anyone.
The way that audible produced this book is simply amazing. You *feel* like you're in the story, in this future world. I search often for books done like this. You have to experience it to understand!
This book was hard to get into at first, but it's overlying theme of internet overload and protecting the earth was difficult to avoid. The author stated his case and the book leaves you with many questions.
The author, who also wrote "Game of Sunken Places," is a master story teller. The story takes a bit to get into; the swearing and "valley speak" were heard to get past. You are quickly immersed in an America of the future in which everyone is hardwired to the internet and are constantly bombarded with consumerism and dull entertainment. A not-so-unique spin on an old sci-fi theme, but it has its eyebrow raising moments.
This book is great for a scifi fan over 15 yo. The language is very rough and, due to the lack of ability to communicate effectivly, much of the characters' emotions are inferred.
This excellent novel is alternately frightening and hilarious. If you thought the kids from Jersey Shore were dumb, wait until you see how teens in the future world of "Feed" are presented. They are dense to begin with, and made more dense by their media- and consumer-soaked environment. Like any good dystopic novel, the future is recognizable (as it is based on trends that are prominent in culture today) and also a slap in the face.
At times I wonder if the humor is overplayed. At the heart of the plot is an extremely tragic situation, and when it hits, you feel caught off-guard. But that's a relatively minor criticism, as the work as a whole holds up very well and packs a punch.
The narration by David Aaron Baker is fantastic! He captures the voice of teenagers in an utterly charming and entertaining way. His performance suits the story perfectly.
A warning: be advised that this book is quite short. The running time is about half the running time of something like Hunger Games.
Definitely well done. A great performance, and the story itself is a great portrayal of the undertones of our modern world. Hopefully not as realistic/semi-accurate portrayals of the future as books like Brave New World, and 1984.
Worth reading, and probably worth getting a physical copy for your children to read.
The story focuses on on how it's bad that we are all interconnected and monitored in the age of technology and oh, yeah, destroying the environment is bad. And we should all be less superficial and materialistic.... I don't know, this book feels like a predictable compilation of complaints about modern society. I'm all for challenging our norms and ideals, but this book feels more whiny than insightful.
Yes, Anderson has a real gift for giving characters a real voice. His characters speak a very believable slang that is very well constructed. My critique of the book is about content, not style.
At first, I was ready to return this audio book. I found it difficult to stomach the dialogue, but I stuck with it and saw the choices the author made were stylistic and contributed to larger picture.
Particularly good as a voiced book given the subject matter. Worth encouraging teenagers to listen to, particularly those whose world is lived online.
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