Feed by M.T. Anderson was the definitive dystopian book before the Hunger Games exploded. I am looking forward to meeting him next week so I finally read this book. I’d been planning to read it forever. Titus is a teen who lives in a world where all internet, TV and any other technology you can dream of downloads right into his brain via “the feed.” Titus thinks nothing of taking a trip to the moon with his buddies to unwind. During that trip a hacker taps Titus and his friends on their shoulders and shuts down the feed. During this trip, Titus meets Violet and she has a way of looking at the world that is different than him and his friends. Feed has one of my favorite first lines in all of YA lit, “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.” Anderson was ahead of his time. While reading this book, I can’t help think of modern technology. The new operating system of the iphone comes to mind. Are we catching up with Anderson’s dystopian world? It makes for fascinating discussion. There is a discussion about cutting down a forest to build an air factory. The meat farm is especially creepy. This book is filled with interesting irony.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
If the feed was an option for you, would you want it if it was the newest must have thing?
Discuss how the feed compares to our current technology such as smart phones and tablets.
Talk about their visit to the farm. How is it the same or different than other farms you may have visited?
Discuss this passage, “It’s like a spiral: They keep making everything more basic so it will appeal to everyone. And gradually, everyone gets used to everything being basic, so we get less and less varied as people, more simple. So the corps make everything even simpler. And it goes on and on.” (Pg. 97)
Discuss this passage, “When no one was going to pay for the public schools anymore and they were all like filled with guns and drugs and English teachers who were really pimps and stuff, some of the big media congloms got together and gave all this money and bought the schools so that all of them could have computers and pizza for lunch and stuff, which they gave for free, and now we do stuff in classes about how to work technology and how to find bargains and what’s the best way to get a job and how to decorate our bedroom.” (Pg. 110)
Discuss how Violet said everything was better if you delayed it on page 143.
Talk about Violet’s father’s unusual way of talking so that vocabulary is not lost. Talk about how language changes with each generation.
What does Titus mean when he says Violet, “It sometimes feels like you’re watching us, instead of being us.” (pg. 168)
Talk about how Quendy gets lenticels. Why would someone do that to themselves?
Discuss Violet’s rant on page 202.
Discuss the conversation between Titus and Violet’s father when he says, “We Americans are interested only in the consumption of our products. We have no interest in how they are produced and what happens to them.” (pg. 290)