A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A.D.D. is a graphic novel that offers a sharp critique of consumer culture and how gaming, sports, reality TV, and teen stars combine to promote a corporate agenda. The characters use a tech-based slang ("frack" is usually employed as a substitute for "f--k," for example), so some readers may need to make a mental adjustment toward the dialogue. There is a fair amount of gaming and real-life violence depicted, but not excessively so for older comics readers. The multimedia games in which the teens compete are full of simulated gunfire, stabbings, and other mayhem. In real life, there's a fist fight, one character is shot, falls from a great height, and dies in a puddle of blood, and three people are shocked with electricity. There are a few references to sex, masturbation, and one or two depictions of naked breasts. Bulllies use "fag" as a slur.
What's the story?
Sometime in the near future, Lionel and the other members of the Adolescent Demo Division have been raised to excel at playing video games. They live in luxury and have hordes of fans, but what happens when it's time for them to graduate, enter the real world, and be reunited with their families? Able to see beyond the screens he looks into, Lionel begins to suspect that Nexgen, the company that raised him, doesn't have his best interests in mind.
Is it any good?
A.D.D. (ADOLESCENT DEMO DIVISION) raises some interesting questions about pop entertainment, mass media, game culture, and corporate greed. Readers will be intrigued by how the author extrapolates from current trends to create a dystopian future. But the language Rushkoff invents for this futuristic setting sometimes sounds needlessly clunky and opaque.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about positive and negative aspects of gaming. What is a healthy amount of time each day to spend with digital devices?
Why do audiences enjoy reality TV programs so much? Why do television networks produce so many of them?
How are teen stars used by the entertainment industry today? What is it about young performers that make them useful to corporations?
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