This book was amazing. I read the entire thing in two short sittings, but not because it was overly simplistic or juvenile. I just couldn’t put it down. It was that good.
The feed tells you what to watch, where to shop, what music you might like. It can look up anything for you at any second. There is no need to write anymore because you can virtually chat with anyone. There is no need to remember things, because a world of knowledge is at your fingertips, no actually, already in your brain.
I think what I found most interesting about this book was the fact that it was published back in 2002. iPhones weren’t out yet and very few people were getting online via their phones or hand held devices (maybe business folk were, but certainly not your average teen). Back then, it was still all about laptops and computers. I find it amazing that in just a few years iPhones, iPads and Blackberries have became huge and this book managed to jump right past that, to a time (a possible near future) that this information is not just in your hands but literally in your mind. Implanted. Always on. There’s no longer any down time. You are always connected and something is always being marketed: places, products, music.
While the book was filled with interesting commentary on consumerism and technology, they were still the backdrop to a story of adolescence and knowing (or struggling to know) one’s self. Anderson’s carefully crafted, futuristic teenspeak is wonderful. It is a bit overwhelming at first, but it does so much to ground the teens in this novel and introduce you to their world. The relationships he builds between both Titus and Violet is a tumultuous one, but also very realistic, and speaks strongly to the emotional roller coaster of growing up and deciding not only who you are, but what you want from life.
The ending was rather grim, full of little hope, and yet I didn’t mind at all. In fact, I commend Anderson on writing this ending. I imagine many will not like it, but I believe it shows a true journey of a character in a way a more upbeat ending may not have. Titus and Violet are changed forever, in ways both good and bad, and as a reader I was left thinking not just about them, but also myself: How my iPhone is sitting right beside me as I write this, how I am no longer able to read a full article online without my attention span drifting, and what these things say about my own relationship with technology, and information, and data…
It’s like, so meg deep, unit. Like, you have no idea.
Originally reviewed here