I know this is considered a young adult book, but I didn't feel like I was reading a young adult book. I first thought, wow this is an off shoot of William Gibson's Neuromancer, but as I read more it reminded me more and more of Bret Easton Ellis's Less than Zero. I'm a fan of both those books and buoyed by that feeling of familiarity I let myself be pulled into M. T. Anderson's vision of the future.
73% of the world have chips implanted in their heads; the world wide web is as readily available to them as breathing. The teenagers in this book feel like they are the hippest most connected people on the planet, but of course the more connected they become the more disconnected they are from what is really going on. They develop lesions and the FEED convinces them it is fashionable to have lesions to the point that some kids are having lesions cut into their body and held open with plastic just so they can feel more a part of the group. Shopping is the ultimate cure for melancholy (sound familiar). For kicks the kids will find malware on the web that will disrupt their FEED and body functions.
There is a love story between Titus and Violet. It is sweet and hopeful, a tie between the future and the past that might have led to an awakening in Titus if not for unfortunate events.
Anderson interjects FEED blasts between chapters giving us a real feel of what it would be like to be assaulted by advertising, blasted by advertising, manipulated by advertising. It would be similar, I feel, to walking through Time Square only with all of that visual extravaganza compressed and put in to your head.
One memorable scene was when Titus is shopping for spotlights for his UPCAR and the salesman is talking about how he went above the domes of the city and noticed movement below him and he flashed his spotlight down on the dome and cockroaches scrambled to get away from the light, billions of them latched on to the dome of the city.
As the environment falls apart around them, as their hair falls out and as flesh starts falling off their bodies no one is worried because there is always the FEED to reassure them that things are really okay.
This is a fast, high impact book that I'm almost certain I will read again.
My wife just sent me a message on google chat that she saw an advertisement selling a Samsung refrigerator that comes with WIFI. Soon I will be able to have meaningful conversations with my refrigerator and I might even develop a crush on my toaster.