What if the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated to the point of nuclear war with both sides firing their missiles? That is the premise behind Fallout when Scott’s father has a bomb shelter built in 1962. We meet Scott’s friends and get a glimpse at suburban life and a view of the national pulse in the early ‘60s. The neighbors rolled their eyes at building a bomb shelter, but in the minutes before the missiles strike, by golly they come running and force their way into the house and into the shelter. The shelter is designed and stocked with provisions for a family of four. The neighbors who forced their way in are so critical about the shelter and the meager provisions. Strasser moves the story along at a quick pace and is so fluidly told in a voice that teens will enjoy. The only bit that bothered me was including the friend Ronnie’s remarks and obsession with breasts. It really wasn’t central to the story. There were plenty of other examples given for the reader to label Ronnie as a jerk.
This book hit a nerve. I am a planner and it ticked me off that the neighbors think they were entitled to force their way into someone’s home and fight their way into a private bomb shelter. Then have the audacity to complain about the lack of food and go so far as to suggest the family that owns the bomb shelter sacrifice their own family members. This book would make for a good discussion starter or personal introspection. Would you be the planner, the person taking responsibility for yourself and your family and making the necessary sacrifices or the social loafer, the person who does as they please and then helps themselves to whatever they desire without putting any work into the situation.
Strasser includes an Author’s Note about a time in his childhood when his father had a fallout shelter built for their family, and includes thoughts pertaining to war. Well written! Highly recommend.
NetGalley review Publication date 9.10.13
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