A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the author makes a sometimes heavy-handed statement about our tech-driven consumer culture and where it's leading us: There's lots to think about and discuss. He uses humor and satire to make his points and will certainly get kids thinking about where we might be headed.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
Titus is a teenager in a future world in which almost everyone has an implanted computer chip, the feed, which links their brains to the web, with its instant messaging, online ordering, entertainment programming, and a constant barrage of advertising tailored to his or her personal tastes, momentary desires, and current locations. But even if this is your idea of utopia, not everything is rosy: Mysterious lesions are appearing in everyone's skin, hackers can get into your feed, and America isn't getting along so well with the rest of the world. None of this matters much to Titus and his friends until he meets a girl named Violet, who has been homeschooled -- as opposed to going to School(tm) -- and got her feed late. Now she's making Titus uncomfortably aware of what's going on outside his own circle ... and what's going wrong with her malfunctioning feed.
Is it any good?
In this viciously satiric novel, M.T. Anderson has imagined today's trends extended into the future. Among the many pleasures in FEED is the slang the author invents for his characters -- different, but understandable, with obvious connections to present-day teen-speak. "Like" has, alas, remained, but "unit" has replaced "dude," a pretty girl is "youch" (if she's really pretty, she's "meg youch"), and so on.
Like many authors of this type of novel, Anderson trowels his point on a bit thickly at the end. But, then, no one ever accused Huxley or Orwell of being subtle, either. And in the meantime, it's a fun ride that will get teens thinking. The satire has a nice bite, and it's all just a bit too plausible for comfort.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how corporations and the media influence us. Do you think that we allow ourselves to be marketed to too much? What can we do to fight it?
What other media have you see/read/played that deals with the future? Are the stories always dark like this one? Why is it important to read books set in the future?
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