Wordy Wednesday – Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Picked this up used from a guy I met at a flea market. You, however, can spare yourself the agony of rubbing elbows with the common man and simply download the book for free from Cory Doctorow’s website, which this link, uh, links to.

I bought a ton of books from that guy, in fact, and I haven’t even made a dent in the pile. This is a start. Not a great one, though.

I think I would have loved this book when I was fifteen or sixteen. It’s about a seventeen-year-old, Marcus, who gets taken in by the Department of Homeland Security after a terrorist attack on San Francisco.

He’s tortured, abused, mentally scarred, and then sent home. Then he gets angry and fights back. With hacking.

While I understand, and even agree for the most part, with the core ideas and outlook of the book, it wasn’t excellent.

The writing was good, everything moved along nicely. But the characters felt mostly one-note, and the villains might as well have had mustaches. They were basically wringing their hands in pleasure at torturing children, or cackling on their broomsticks while deliberately spreading misinformation.

Little Brother feels like it wants people to mistake it for a ‘young adult’ novel so that kids will get it for Christmas and birthdays. Then they’ll be enlightened and join the rebellion, maaaan.

I guess I wanted it to be more than a one-note, rage against the machine, fist-waving, juvenile-defiance, fight the power book. Parts of it are basically instruction manuals for getting around online security systems. But they are written very matter-of-fact. I don’t think a kid who doesn’t know about this stuff already would be surprised by any info in the book.

Pictured: the Department of Homeland Security, defeated by Marcus.

Overall, I’d say pass on it. When reading a book, if I find that I want the villains to shoot the shitty main character whom I am supposed to like (because, for example, Marcus says things like “she was totally h4wt” and then takes a paragraph to tell us that he means ‘hot’ as in attractive), I can’t recommend it (or stomach it).

But the main character also loves Kerouac’s On the Road, which I hated, so maybe I am just biased.


About seansynthetic

"...so I says the the guy, I says to him, 'No, YOU ain't allowed back into this Chuck-E-Cheese.'"

Posted on October 24, 2012, in Wordy Wednesdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: