Saturday, October 12, 2013

FALLOUT by Todd Strasser

Todd Strasser takes readers back to mid-1962 to experience the tension and fear created by the Cuban Missile Crisis and the impending threat of nuclear attack.  Although, the Cold War never became an actual war and no missiles were fired, many bomb shelters were constructed in private homes across the country.  Strasser's own family had such a shelter, and during the early 1960's he grew up in fear of what would happen if there was an attack.

Scott Porter's father built the neighborhood's only bomb shelter.  It wasn't a secret, and in fact, made Scott and his little brother Sparky the butt of some ugly jokes. 

When they weren't busy with school and homework, Scott and his friends played ball, watched Rocky and Bullwinkle, and snuck into the Lewandowski's garage to steal frozen cheese cake.   If they took the time to pay attention to the news and the adult world, they heard talk of President Kennedy and an evil Russian leader threatening the safety of the United States.  Some of Scott's friends dismissed the talk as boring and unimportant, but Scott paid attention and spent sleepless nights worrying about the terrifying possibility of war with Russia.

When the unthinkable happens and the sirens go off, Scott's father hustles them down the ladder and into the shelter.  Before he can secure the heavy metal hatch, the neighbors arrive and some of them are able to force their way into the dark, subterranean room.  The space meant for a family of four now had more than twice that number trying to get comfortable for the two week stay until it was reportedly safe to return to the surface. 

What would happen when the food ran out, tempers flared, and living conditions deteriorated? 

FALLOUT focuses on a terrible time in our history that today's teens know very little about.  Snippets of information in history class can't compare to the first hand experience Strasser brings to this story.  It's definitely one you won't want to miss.

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