How do I talk about a book like Feed?
I'm not sure where I could possibly begin. I suppose I should start with myself, because my experiences colored how I read and felt about this book.
I worked for two years at a major newspaper, and believe me when I say I know the ugly side of the news media. When I left the paper the news was already on its slide toward what I call Infotainment, and away from the Truth. Don't get me started on how I feel about the reporting being done today. I also happen to be extremely political, something that stumps my more apathetic Gen X friends. I'm constantly on my soapbox begging people to get informed and get involved. So why is this important? Oh, didn't I mention? This isn't a zombie book. This is a wake up call.
Feed takes place in the years after the zombie Rising. Life carries on. And zombies are just a fact of life. And the book follows a group of bloggers as they cover a major political campaign. The traditional news has lost its pursuit of the truth, and it is in the hands of bloggers to do the real reporting. The bulk of the book is spent on explorations of the news and politics. It is methodical and somewhat repetitive, though I never balked at its surprisingly laid back pace. You join the campaign trail and get pulled in to a well constructed world, frighteningly familiar in its similarities to our own. The actual zombies take a back seat. Terror, on the other hand, does not.
Feed is a meditation on what it is like to live in a state of constant fear. This is a book where zombies are a clear metaphor for terrorism. Actually, not even a metaphor at times - in places it is even literal. This is a world wherein the people are afraid all the time. They shut themselves in their homes, and they fear their neighbors. It's terrifying. And after reading over and over and over again about blood tests being clean, to the point where it begins to grate, the tension has reached such a point that the payoff is as jarring as it is inevitable when one comes back dirty.
This book won't appeal to everyone. It's not action packed. It's not an all out zombie fest. The terror comes in the form of a creeping dread, and in wanting to believe things will work out when you know damn well that they will not. The fear is not in the moments where zombies are running toward you. It's in the moment you are pulling off your shirt, searching for holes, hoping against hope that you aren't dead and just don't know it yet. Or worse, when you are watching your loved one do the same.