Feed by M.T. Anderson

Feed by M.T. Anderson (unabridged audiobook read by David Aaron Baker; 5 hrs on 5 discs): In a future America where the internet is inside everyone’s head, Titus and his friends are regular teenagers just looking for a good time. At a club on the moon during spring break, they meet Violet, a homeschooled outsider hoping to experience regular teenage life. After their feeds are hacked by dissidents, Violet’s feed begins to malfunction, and Titus must choose between this interesting girl he’s just met and his longtime but shallow friends. I’m not going to lie to you: Titus is not a good or admirable person, but he’s actually pretty realistic. He’s self-absorbed and wishes bad things would just go away and not bother him. I’m sure many of us have wished an inconveniently ill person could just “get over it” but unlike Titus, we readers have a moral compass reminding us that their trauma is not about us. This is a dystopia clearly inspired by the inanity of the internet; most of the characters talk like they’re on Tumblr. I found it an interesting and worthwhile read, but if you need to have some level of fondness for the main character in a book, this story will likely be pretty hard to take. If nothing else, it reminded me of the importance of empathy and kindness.

A note on the audio: I am so glad I listened to this one. The entire thing is written in dialect that would surely have driven me mad in print, but isn’t so bad to hear. (It helps that Baker is an excellent reader.) Also, the feed ads are done just like radio ads, which brings some extra realism to the story. I was kind of confused when they first cut in, because I thought maybe my CD player had switched over to radio accidentally or something, but a lot of the content is actually quite absurd and funny.

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