Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Feed by M. T. Anderson: Review

This is one of those books where you really have to hold out for the ending, because even though it might not seem worth it at the start, it's worth it by the end.

For the first 140 pages, it took most of my willpower not to put the book down, write a scathing review, and forget about it. The main character, Titus, has absolutely no redeeming factors. He's crude. He's ignorant. He's selfish and pretty much everything else that would give me a reason to dislike him. When he hangs out with his friends, he acts like an ass. When he meets a girl that might actually be good for him, he barely seems to care about her. And to top it all off, there's all of this odd, technological, feed-world lingo that isn't explained, leaving readers feeling like outsiders. Why would anyone want to read a book in a language that's difficult to understand with unfeeling characters, and, at least initially, not much blot This is why-

Because after those first 140 pages or so, everything comes together. The story focuses less on the individual characters and more on their interactions and relationships. Then, within the last 20 pages, all of the harsh words and ignorance and random scenes start to make sense. Bam. And guess what? You feel like an idiot for ever doubting the novel. In fact, the last few pages are so powerful that you start to question if the beginning was really as bad as you once thought it of.

Now, I wouldn't say that the ending completely makes up for the beginning, but it did make the difference between a bad and a good review. In my opinion, it's not that the book was written poorly, it's just that the beginning could have been written better. There could have been more tie-ins. More suspense. (That was another issue. Unlike many stories that make you want to figure out how it all ties together in the end, this didn't give you much of a reason to for the first half of the story.) There could have been more explanations of some of the terms that even now I still have no idea what they mean.

I feel like Anderson really understood his Feed-world. He managed to completely transport his readers there, and since it all made sense to him, he didn't give them as much of an understanding as he could have. His Feed jargon is brilliant...i just wish it could be brilliant and decipherable.

If you want to know if I would go as far as telling you all not to read it, the answer is no, certainly not. Feed was definately a good book and your opinions may turn out to be different than mine. Would I highly recommend it? If you're lacking things to read, yes. However, I think there are plenty of more current things that I'd probably suggest first.

But hey, the book was a national book award finalist, so maybe I'm wrong. What do you think?

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