My dear friend and fellow book geek wrote this review about “Little Brother” by Cory Doctorow. We were chatting about it the other day, so I’ve been meaning to read and share her review. I read it last month and more or less forced her to read it, and I was so glad she enjoyed it as much as I did.
Click through to read the basic summary and important points, then come back because there are a couple of things I want to add. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
*taps foot* *checks watch*
OK, so now that you have the gist of this badass teen dystopian world created by a huge techno geek (yeah, if you DIDN’T click through you really want to NOW, don’t you?! Do it.), there are a few things I want to say about the book.
1. I agree that the gap between good and evil is a big one, but toward the end, our main character realizes that he needs help, and one particular adult makes his revolution possible. I point this out because she was probably my favorite character. She’s a female journalist who listens to his story, and instead of just believing everything he says and publishing it (which is what most readers unfamiliar with the world of journalism would expect), she tells him she will VERIFY everything before she publishes (which is what journalists DO). I love that. And I love her character.
2. The techno jargon was almost too much for me. The author has the narrator explain some of the technology he uses to get around the ridiculous surveillance at his school, for example, or how he gets around some of the Department of Homeland Security spies and whatnot. Some of the explanations are brief and satisfying to someone like me who cares far more about the plot than the technology, but other explanations are LONG and (for someone like me) confusing and unnecessary. However, I realize the author had to include them to appease the techno pros who would poke holes in the plot based on the technology. I still skipped several paragraphs just to get back to the plot, and almost put it down altogether because it was annoying and overwhelming.
3. I love the main character. His main motivation to take on Homeland Security is that his friend who was stabbed in the initial action was never released from questioning even though he and his other two friends were. He has several moments of questioning if he is doing the right thing, and is urged on by people who have come to see him as a brave leader, even if he doesn’t feel that way himself. That dichotomy of who he is and how he is perceived in the online revolution that occurs is what drives his character development, and I loved it. He is a very unlikely hero, which makes his actions that much more heroic, in my opinion.
I also have to add that he has a little romantic affair that is adorable and believable all at the same time, and I love that it wasn’t perfect and predictable, because relationships rarely are. That would be boring, wouldn’t it?