Little Brother

Author: Cory Doctorow

Intelligent and always eager to figure things out, Marcus sees beating the system as just another way to test himself–and prove that the adults around him aren’t as smart as they think they are. So finding ways to sneak out of school to play Harajuku Fun Madness isn’t an unusual thing for him. Still, on the day the Bay Bridge was bombed, sneaking out of school may just have changed his life forever as he and his friends found themselves picked up by National Security as potential suspects! After seeing how he and other citizens were treated in the name of “fighting terrorism,” Marcus declared a war of his own . . . a war of youth against stiff adulthood, of technological smarts against those who think their technology is secure, and most of all a fight of those who love freedom against those who would trade their freedom for a false sense of safety.

First of all, may I just say that in so many ways I am not qualified to write about Little Brother; my political expertise is practically nonexistent, and while I am a competent computer user, I am in no way a programmer, hacker, or security expert. But that’s one of the things I love about Doctorow’s writing here: he explains exactly what you need to understand the plot without being overly complicated or didactic. And truly, the information provided about computer security and such is really interesting and useful. Even more than that though, this book is a timely, raw, moving tale about youth, passion, freedom, and how fragile our freedoms can truly be if we aren’t willing to fight to defend them. The writing style, the characters, the plot, everything worked together wonderfully to support this end, and I found myself moved and challenged to an impressive extent upon finishing this book. I will admit, it’s probably not for everyone–there’s sex, politics, technology, language, LARPing, and all kinds of other controversial stuff in it–but for those who are willing to challenge their set patterns of thinking, I think Little Brother is a wonderful, illuminating story. I really loved it, myself.

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