Posted in Book Reviews

The Wave


The Wave by Todd Strasser

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars


This book is boringly written, but has a great message. It is about a high school social studies teacher that, in order to get his students to understand the Nazi party and Holocaust, creates a social experiment called The Wave. A motto is created, rules are created, members are identified as “monitors” so that enforcement of The Wave’s ideals are upheld, and even a salute is created.

The Wave takes off like wildfire with the Seniors in the class, and they begin telling others about it. Then over 200 hundred students in the school become involved. People who resist, well, let’s just say, some members strongly discourage. One Jewish student got beaten up by members, friendships were destroyed, and those on the outside and saw The Wave for what it was, they became fearful to speak out or move against The Wave.

The movement moved as one pack. A few students broke free and saw what it was doing. One student even attempted to push through and show others in the movement what was really happening.

The Wave moved towards equality. Finally, everyone felt equal to each other. The cliques disappeared. Those who lived in shadows or constantly teased, were a part of a group.

I think, experiments like The Wave and the Stanford Prison Experiment, are beneficial to society. It shows how impressionable humans are in their adaptability to something bigger than themselves. Some individuals, not because they are weak minded, need to answer to something greater to themselves. You find this in religion, in politics, in group/clique settings. We are pack animals. We need to belong. Do I agree with this structure? No. I am appalled that the Holocaust even occurred. Do I believe I would have stood out? I would like to say yes, because I always stand against what I believe is harmful, but you never know. There were some stronger characters in this book, but only some learned AFTER they hurt someone they cared about.

This is a book I think my high school should have read at some point. I am not sure why it didn’t. I still feel kind of weird about what I read, and how to process these feelings. I wish the writing wasn’t so dry and that I could have been sucked into it, but I felt myself forcing through, just trying to get to how the experiment ended. I think the ending was too abrupt as a reader, and I am not sure if that would really work to end this kind of experiment. I may need to do some research on what happened to the kids AFTER the fact. Those who participated in the Stanford Prison Experiment were never the same, they were all effected by the roles that they were given and getting into those roles.


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