Book Review: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
A while back I read and reviewed Homeland, the sequel to Little Brother. I’d been meaning to get around to Little Brother, and its pick as San Francisco’s One City One Book gave me the push that I needed.
Little Brother takes place in a present day, slightly dystopian version of San Francisco (these is more obvious surveillance, tracking, blind patriotism, and privacy breaches). The premise is that terrorists have blown up the Bay Bridge, and our teenage narrator and his friends just so happen to be ditching school Downtown when it happens. In the wrong place at the wrong time, they get arrested and jailed & abused in a secret prison on Angel Island. Our narrator Marcus gets out and basically starts a secret internet and technology-based revolution.
Like Homeland, the really big strengths of this book are in the political messages. They are about the stifling prevalence of surveillance, the problems of illegal secret imprisonment of innocent people, and the importance of privacy. The story was ok, and it’s clear that effort was put into making the characters human, but it honestly seemed more like padding for all of the exciting concepts presented. Actual timing and events in the narrative felt kind of dizzy and lumpy. Ultimately, it was the action and the politics that moved me through the book. If anything, this exciting and thematically important book will make you want to re-check your privacy settings…