Feed – M.T. Anderson

feed

Reading level: 6.7

Genre: Dystopian, sci-fi

ELL-Friendly: No; lots of slang and abbreviated words

Library recommendation: Middle or high school, though probably more of interest to HS-age.

I read this book about a year ago, so I’m struggling to remember much. I do remember that I didn’t like Feed a whole lot. As I skimmed through the pages, I remembered that I found the book boring. There wasn’t much of a plot but rather the reader following the everyday thoughts and actions of the main character Titus. The narration of Titus is also hard to follow with him using what I may venture to call “teen language” with lots of “likes.” But, as with teenagers, Titus is preoccupied with uninteresting (to me) teenage things like shopping and what is cool. But I guess that’s part of the point.

While I found the book rather dull, the ideas behind it are brilliant – a “feed” in your mind much like today’s facebook feeds, but with more advertisements – in your brain. Of course, that creates a totally brain-dead, materialistic, consumer society, which is why I didn’t care for Titus. I’m sure that was the point though – we have to see through the lens of a boy 100% in this system for us to understand it and for us to love Violet who rages against the system.

I read this book for a young adult lit class and I remember the class having in-depth conversations about the implications of this book and about technology in general, and these same discussions could easily take place in a classroom, especially during a unit on media literacy. Even selecting specific sections to have the class read could work.

Amazom.com says Feed is for ages 14+, which is high school age. You’ve got to read between the lines a lot with this book, but it wouldn’t hurt to have it in a middle school classroom library. If a kid doesn’t like it, he/she (I need a gender-neutral, singular pronoun) can stop. What middle school students might like is the language, as there are lots of words used by Titus (and everyone else) that you’ve got to think about in order to understand. It’s clever, but it did prove frustrating for me at times to figure what words like “mal” meant. Not a book for beginner ELLs.

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