Little Brother

by Cory Doctorow

Basic Summary: In the not-so-distant, hi-tech future, w1n5t0n (aka Marcus) cuts school with his three best friends to have some fun and play a game, but then a bomb goes off literally adjacent to where Marcus & Co are at. Thus putting them in a wrong place/wrong time scenario. Thus getting them in some very big trouble. Very. Big. What follows is Marcus’ attempt to gain both his life, his friends and his country back.

Kell’s Chatty Review: This book was really, really good. However, there are some highly technical rants/explanations within the book that might make it hard for some people to get through. What I most liked about it was you really had no clue how it was going to end. And everyone could be the enemy. Very covert, very fascinating.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the character development. There were a lot of gaping holes where characters disappeared and reappeared, but the plot is strong enough to push past that.

It did, however, instill the desire to be paranoid as hell.

Is it worth the read: If you can handle some techno-verbage, and want to read a book that literally makes you think and understand, then yes. It’s very worth the read. I wouldn’t define this as an easy, relaxing read however. But since I don’t grasp a lot of the programming concepts, I really had to think to follow things.

What this book taught me about life: That I need to take some computer programming classes, because apparently that’s what might save my life/freedom.

That’s It?: Well, yeah, sure, it served as a cautionary tale about government monitoring and responsibilities as citizens, but that’s not nearly as fun as the techno-fab side of the story.

What I most want to do after reading this book: Chuck out all technology. No, seriously.

Favorite Passage: What if I got hit by lightning while walking with an umbrella? Ban umbrellas! Fight the menace of lightning!” (Little Brother, pg. 96)

Favorite Library-Related Passage: “You can reprogram arphids with the right box, but I hate doing that to library books. It’s not exactly tearing pages out of a book, but it’s still bad, since a book with a reprogrammed arphid can’t be shelved and can’t be found. It just becomes a needle in a haystack.” (Little Brother, pgs. 23-24)

Do You Know What an Arphid Is: Not exactly. But I remember enough to put it in context to the story, and that’s pretty impressive right? See, books do teach you things!

Do I Now Wonder About the Monitoring of My Life Everytime I Use Some Sort of Technology: Yes. Just another neuroses to add to my list.

What Technology from the Book I Want to Try the Most: Honestly, the gait-monitor fascinated me. But I loved Doctorow’s explanation of the library technology.

Re-Readability Rating: 2.5. It really is such a tough, thought-provoking novel, I’m not sure it would be one of my go-to books. And that’s okay.

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