Little Brother

Little Brother - Cory Doctorow Though it has been years since I read Doctorow's Little Brother, I can't forget the disappointment I felt reading it. In spite of having been (much) younger, I couldn't shake the feeling while reading the book that Doctorow was trying very desperately to tell me something about surveillance. I'm not a man against putting a message in a book; I've put one in my own. The trouble is, I felt that the message in Little Brother- the one warning me about what I post online, who I talk to, or how I should behave- was shouted at me. I feel that if Mr. Doctorow was subtler with his message, it would've been far more effective and thought provoking. Instead, I got bashed over the head with it.

While I thought the story was interesting (and, given the current political climate, believable), I don't feel that it was well executed. I got a bad sense of "I'm a big boy and I swear!" from the protagonist- he was vulgar to the point of awkward. I'm not a book-burning fear-mongering censor-jockey; I just feel that some parts of the book were there for the wrong reasons. In particular, there was a poorly handled sex scene that didn't at all fit into the context of the story- while Doctorow had the good sense to fade to black, I couldn't shake the feeling that what had just happened didn't make any sense.

I appreciated the little nods to 1984, and I thought that while the overall idea of Little Brother was great, it felt like somebody pushing an idea with a story hidden in it somewhere- it didn't feel like a book that contained an idea.