Saturday, August 3, 2013


Wow! I loved Fallout by Todd Strasser! Judging from the reviews and press I've read about the novel, it seems like most people did as well. I don't know why I didn't make the connection when I started reading, but I realized on his website that Strasser also wrote The Wave, which I had to read in my 8th grade Reading class. I remember hating the teacher, but loving that book and its implications.

 I experienced something I don't often get to with novels: I felt like I was right there with the characters. The way that Strasser described the tension in the shelter and the anxiety of the neighbors made me really feel like I was living it with them - horrifying and intriguing.

 I also loved the way Strasser examined human nature - the way the characters changed from ridiculing Scott's dad's shelter to wanting in on it, and then once they were in, criticizing his hap-hazard gathering of items like food, water, clothing, etc. - the ultimate "looking a gift horse in the mouth," would have to be critiquing the man who saved your life. I really loved watching these changes unfold and seeing how unpredictable people can be when faced with catastrophic events. For instance, one of the characters, Mrs. Shaw, says she would never be able to sacrifice someone else's life to save her own. She's obviously shocked when she learns that her husband did just that: he helped Scott's dad keep too many people from getting into the shelter, essentially killing them.

Todd Strasser’s amazing book, Fallout, does not disappoint! Through 6th-grader, Scott, we experience the horror of 10 people trying to survive underground in an bomb shelter that’s only supplied for 4. Alternating chapters show us what led up to the Cold War nightmare. It’s the first middle-grade novel I’ve read in a while that had me biting my nails to the quick. Scary and fantastic!

I was hooked within the first chapter! What would have happened if the Cuban Missile Crisis hadn't been prevented? Not knowing much about this time period, I was intrigued by the angst felt within all households at this time. How do you prepare for the incomprehensible? Todd Strasser does a fantastic job describing what almost happened!

A fascinating--and terrifying-- re-envisioning of the Cuban Missile Crisis told through the eyes of a 12 year old whose father was the only one in the neighborhood to preparefor nuclear war.
What if the crisis wasn't averted?

The bunker scenes are frightening--they would make a great play--like ANNE FRANK or 12 ANGRY JURORS. Multiple personalities struggling in close quarters.
Great tie-in with Z FOR ZECHARIAH.  

Compelling chilling story.

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