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.
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.
Posted on October 24, 2012, in Wordy Wednesdays and tagged Cory Doctorow, Department of Homeland Security, fight the power, HACKING OMG, jack kerouac, Little Brother, on the road, Snidely Whiplash. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.