Review by Shellie: Feed (audio) ~ by M. T. Anderson (read by David Aaron Baker)
A young adult dystopian that sounds so realistic in the audio version that it’s frightening. Funny and heartbreaking, it will help readers think about what our world could become if capitalistic advertising is allowed to run wild in combination with technology.
About: It appears that Titus is a regular teenager, the only difference is that in his world everyone has a “feed” implanted in their brain. It transmits constant personalized ads into their vision and auditory senses, including a way to keep in constant contact with anyone at anytime. It’s responsible for the fact that actual reading has become a thing of the past, since all communications are voice and thought activated via the “feed”. Sadly, also in this world the oceans are toxic, sterile, and no fish exist all in response to their rampant consumerism.
It's all too normal for Titus and his friends. As they party, take trips to the moon, and ingest the occasional mind altering substance, they lead their “normal lives” with a “party on attitude”. However, this world view is about to change when Titus meets a girl named Violet who is very different from anyone he knows. He begins to realize that, along with all the teen fun and games, there is an underlying angst and horror which they are all trying desperately to ignore and marginalize.
Thoughts: I enjoyed listening to this book in audio, with its well done and interesting sound effects. Told in first person by Titus, it’s coupled with their future version of “teen speak”. I dare you not to go around calling friends and family members “Unit” instead of “Dude” or other current young adult colloquialism. There was a romantic element to the story which is told from the guy’s perspective which I enjoyed. With a realistic ending that is not your “drive into the sunset” cliché. There are a good number of interesting science based elements in addition to the implant – including cloning and hover cars, however the best bit is how the actual feed sounds in this audio version that I think is particularly brilliant.
I enjoyed this novel in audio and would recommend it for any teen (adult too) who enjoys a good dystopian. I could even imagine using the written version within the classroom as a modern day trade out for 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, or perhaps in tandem with required high school readings; giving a fresher perspective to the classics. I give this audio version a 4 stars, since in addition to the author’s creative technological ideas which are a key to the book, the reader and audio producer have also contributed to create a darkly funny and all to realistic “listen”.
Publication Data: Audio Edition: Unabridged; Listening Library - May 27, 2006 5 hours, 1 minute; Awards for the audio version: Best Audiobooks – Audiophile.
The print version was first published in 2002 and won various awards. For example it was the finalist for the 2002 National Book Award, Young People's Literature, Honor book for the 2003 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award (in the fiction category).
This audio book was read in 2011 and its original review was lost in the “Gremlin Attack”- where I lost my hard drive. It’s also included in several 2011 challenges. The Basic Challenge, Dystopian Challenge, The 42 – Science Fiction Challenge.
I have enjoyed a number of young-adult dystopian novel last year in 2011, and am thinking to move on into the adult section. Got any recommendations for favorite adult dystopias anyone?