The Wave by Todd Strasser


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I’m not certain how true this version of The Third Wave project but one of the major flaw of this book was it is a short novel and the book wasn’t meant to be a nonfictional work (hence, lessened the believability) but rather a retelling of an incident. It could have been a better book if the author hadn’t oversimplify the incident and major focus was on the psychology of the situation. It is an interesting social experiment although very unethical and done in the most shortsighted way but the most important is; The experiment itself is frighteningly successful that it only happen in five days.

I’ve seen the German film version of the book and of course both are different medium of interpretations but there was the 1972 account of The Third Wave by the teacher Ron Jones which does shed through the light of what actually happen and how he started the experiment without further foresight and lost control of the situation when it went out of control. It was more an actual scare than a significant incident but seeing that he was a teacher, I couldn’t find fault in that really. His method wasn’t flawless but he did get something right and rightfully dystopian. 

But I do get that this book was written in a way it could be read by average teenager and tried as it might, there’s not much disparity between this dramatization of 60’s teenage situation and to the modern equivalent – although obviously, without technology and social media. The book still raises a lot of ethical issues and I guess the third person narrative helped in some ways making the story relatable but the book was too short and it could be evened out with before, during and aftermath format with actual interviews or pictures or something that was actually interesting or author’s raising questions and inviting more dialogues or present a case study. I love to see a more recent rewriting of the incident and perhaps journalistic/young adult writing style rather than the focus on for-children writing quality. I wish I could say something like it was written in the 80s and hence it shouldn’t carry modern equivalent of writing young adult books but considering the author’s writing history, I guess something improved between these decades so it wouldn’t be too much to ask for a remastered version of this book because it really could have been better.


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