Banned Book Club: Feed


photo by Roman Hladio

Roman Hladio, Reporter

For just about every month this school year, I’ve reviewed a commonly challenged book.  That being said, one of the most common questions I get is, “Which one’s your favorite?” and I haven’t chosen one specifically this far, but I can without a doubt say that Feed by M.T. Anderson takes that spot.

This book is often challenged due to its explicit language and a few mild sexual moments it presents.  Basically, it was written from the perspective of a high-schooler, and it felt just like I was in the halls of NASH reading it.

Feed is a science fiction book that takes place on Earth an unspecified amount of time in the future.  It follows Titus, who is the equivalent of a senior in high school in their education system. The book opens as Titus and his friends make their way to the moon for a spring break trip.  Once landed, the reader is made aware of the main societal advancement that some find to be dehumanizing, the feed.

A feed is a device planted in most newborns heads immediately following birth.  Imagine constantly having Google or Amazon in your head, sending information from servers to your receiver, learning your likes and dislikes.

On the moon, the characters are are barraged by ads featuring restaurants, beauty tips, exercise tricks, or just about anything you could think of.

Anderson makes clear that in this future, a portion of the population is strongly against the implantation of feeds into newborns, while the public at large generally doesn’t care.  And for being written in 2002, Feed’s commentary on politics and society at large is eerily similar to what we see today.  For example, one ad mentions the feed protests and rebellions that are occurring. Many of those who protest the feed are tossed aside like anti-vaxxers, though compared to diseases, the feed is less harmful to society as a whole.

Feed really kicks off when Titus, his friends, and a girl they just happened to meet are victims of a hacker attack at a club.  The novel follows the seven characters from the perspective of Titus as their society begins to decay around them.

As I previously said, Feed carries heavy political and societal topics.  Part of what makes this future so easy to fall into is how relatable all the goings on of the world are to current problems.  Without stating an explicit opinion on the topic, the president in this future of the U.S. has lawyers covering for his inappropriate statements towards other nations leaders.

A point that I haven’t touched on as much yet is that of marketing.  People who have a feed are constantly being spammed by algorithms that suggest all the newest trends in style and are made to become so general after a period of time that the marketing companies have total control over the citizens.  Because of this, Feed is also very pertinent to the discussions around mental health and the effects social media has on people, though I feel that social media is much less intrusive than the feed.

This obtuse mix of themes makes Anderson’s Feed a powerhouse.  Although it was written in 2002, Anderson was able to predict the turns our society would take years down the road, and it amazes me how he hits the nail on the head.

JUNIORS!  If you have any interest in carrying on Library Club, head to the library.  You don’t even have to like to read — it’s just a nice place to hang out and meet some great people.  Also, as our unofficial slogan has become, “Sometimes there’s cake!”