In the twentieth chapter of Feed, Georgia and Shaun worry about their future with the Ryman campaign. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Feed.
Doesn’t everything just feel wrong? What I ended up liking most about this chapter was how these characters felt slightly out of step. Shaun is less likely to crack a joke. Georgia is crankier than usual. Suddenly aware of just how complicated their lives are, these people begin to show signs of stress and exhaustion, Georgia in particular. The chapter opens with her frustration at being shut off from the Internet and from Mahir; she has no idea if he was able to grab the footage and wipe the servers. She’s off her game, and it shows.
It was nice to see Steve again, and I could tell Shaun and Georgia were relieved that they’d get access to their van as soon as they got to their hotel. The two venture there without Rick, who gets assigned to an appearance Ryman is making for the Daughters of the American Revolution. Initially, I didn’t think much of this. Obviously, Georgia wanted to discuss recent events with Shaun, but it wasn’t until later that I realized Georgia doesn’t trust Rick explicitly. It makes a whole lot of sense, actually. It takes a while for Georgia to develop a close trust with anyone, and the last chapter just demonstrated to me that she doesn’t wholly trust Senator Ryman either. He’s been around Georgia even longer than Rick!
Plus, you really have demonstrate that you can be trusted. These siblings don’t just offer that up from the start. I think that’s one of the reasons why they’re so flippant with Andres. They’re irritated as it is, and Andres’s strict following of “standard safety precautions” is a little too much for them to handle. Yeah, if Andres doesn’t adapt soon, they’re going to run him into the ground. But I also saw the siblings’ behavior as more indicative of their state of mind rather than Andres’s irritability. Grant is able to convey the urgency of their situation in subtle ways so that you’re left with a feeling instead of an outright statement. On top of that, Georgia’s current state deteriorates rather quickly; her combination of pain and exhaustion gets pretty damn bad.
But before that’s addressed, Shaun and Georgia talk about what’s happened to them. They’ve put most of it together on their own, so the first thing that shocked me had nothing to do with the events on the highway.
“I dream about Eakly.” The statement was almost offhanded, but there was a depth of hurt to it that surprised even me, and I usually know what Shaun’s thinking. “They never saw it coming. They never had a chance.”
Yeah, any time Shaun expresses something like this, it upsets me. For Shaun, though, he’s an Irwin. He seeks out danger. He pokes it with his stick. This is his thing. And so it makes absolute sense that he despises that the people in Eakly had to die without a single chance to get away. I imagine he is most bothered by the fact that someone shot at the people trying to flee, preventing them from doing so. Shaun might relish the escape, but he gets the choice of having it. He can still blame himself if he amplifies. These people never got that option.
While I did understand Georgia’s reason for calling Rick’s trust into suspicion, I found Shaun’s reasoning remarkably sound. Why would Buffy spill her guts but not tell the truth about Rick? Why would the terrorists try to take Rick out if he was an accomplice? Why wouldn’t Rick say anything after his attempted murder? The Occam’s razor here is that Rick knew nothing about what Buffy did, and I’m inclined to believe that.
It’s also really refreshing to see Shaun take charge (in a rather loving way) and order Georgia to sleep. I seriously love that Grant has created a relationship in her books like the one between Georgia and Shaun. It’s such a powerful emotional element to have in this story, and it was a pleasure to see the dynamic reversed at the end of the chapter. In this case, Shaun decides that Georgia, who would work herself into a state of hyper-exhaustion if she could, had better get some much-needed rest. Granted, they are on a tight schedule, but she can’t keep going at this rate or she’s going to hurt herself.
Georgia’s final blog post in chapter twenty is a stark reminder, though, that the situation they’re in is grim. She’s right; sleeping won’t make things better. They’ve grown up in a world where “freedom” was traded for safety, and now that safety is quickly eroding. What freedoms will they have left to fight against these terrorists? I don’t know, but I don’t have much left of Feed. I imagine I am as unprepared for the future as I’ll ever be.
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