In M.T. Anderson's book, "Feed", the brain of nearly everyone in the world is directly linked to an Internet-like network of information, communication, and - most importantly - advertising. The world itself, that physical realm that our bodies inhabit, is hardly of any importance. What matters is the constant stream of chatter, images, and sensations that the feed delivers. And when the book's main character, a teenager named Titus, has his feed hacked, he finds his world torn apart by reality.
The brilliance of this books lies in its language. Like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ridley Walker", "Feed" offers its readers an entirely new lexicon. Because of mind-to-mind communication, words have been shortened (for example, 'girlfriend' becomes 'girlf' and 'regarding' becomes 're:') and even the adults struggle to express themselves (the word 'thing' gets used frequently.) The quixotic, truncated prose draws the reader into the world of hyper-commercialism far better than any descriptions could.
The other remarkable thing about "Feed" is the fact that, although the book was written eight years ago, the concept is still as fresh in 2011 as it was 2008. The author had amazing insight into the possibility of human minds connecting directly to the Internet.
The downside of "Feed" is its overbearing message. From page one, the reader is bludgeoned with the idea that the Internet is bad and that we are losing ourselves in our pursuit of consumerism. This is a common sentiment among most people of the 21st century, and having it reiterated over and over again makes the moral lose its impact. By the end of the first chapter, the reader is ready to move on.
Finally, the plot itself is lacking. The "boy meets girl, falls in love, falls out of love" scenario is nothing new, and "Feed" doesn't make it any fresher. In fact, without the bells and cyber-whistles, this story could have taken place at any time in any place. The ending is very poignant, but also very expected.
"Feed" is both funny and moving. A farce and a tragedy. Yet, in the end, it isn't nearly as satisfying as it should have been.