The Wave by Morton Rhue (Review)

Release date: 2007

Publisher: Puffin Books

Number of pages: 149

My rating: 1.5/5 stars

What a crapfest. Really. I did not enjoy this book at all. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy reading about The Wave, and how such a movement was formed, I didn't enjoy it because the execution was so poor.

The Wave is based on a true story. In an American History class, people question the actions of the German citizens in supporting Hitler and the Nazis, so the teacher, Mr Ross decides to put this to the test. He forms a group called The Wave, and makes rules and mottos. Everyone enjoys this very much, because they feel empowered. They feel that they are doing something great. The wave gains momentum as more and more students join. Our main character, Laurie is concerned, because there have been incidents of violence and bullying of the people who are not part of the wave. Everything goes a little bit haywire as The Wave spirals out of control.

Now, this is a very interesting story. It brings some insight into how the Germans could have supported such a group. It's really amazing what people can do once they are part of a powerful group. The good plot was enough to keep me mildly interested, but not enough to make me actually enjoy it.

Now, my biggest problem with The Wave is the characterisation. The focus of the novel is obviously The Wave, and to tell this story, Rhue uses crappy cardboard cutout characters. Amy, Laurie, David, Robert, Mr and Mrs Ross were all boring. They have no personality whatsoever. They were simply there to drive the story along.

Another massive problem with The Wave, and this is my own opinions, is that the book should not exist. Frankly, a news article would be better, although it wouldn't give the same insight into the incident as a book would. The writing was so stiff an impersonal, and Rhue has no talent for storytelling.

You know how people say that in movies, the script is the skeleton, so it's up to the actors to bring the flesh and life to it? Well, it's a little different with books, because we don't have actors to act it out for us. The flesh and life have to be in the story itself. The Wave just doesn't work for it. Rhue could have put more effort and life into the characters, but that would draw attention away from the big issue, which is The Wave. Who would want to read a book about Laurie's relationship problems, Amy's daddy issues, Robert's bullying issues, and how David's dad left him, all while being bombarded by the details of the massive movement? No one. It just wouldn't work. (And by the way, in the actual book, the characters don't have those issues.)

Well then, if the story of The Wave doesn't work as a book, how do you expect us to get more insight into The Wave? You might ask.

In my opinion. The Wave works really well as a movie. The main focus of the movie can be The Wave, but the characters will seem more real instead of the cardboard cut-outs we see in the book. In a movie, we would still get that insight into The Wave, and possibly understand a bit more about human nature and why people follow such groups.

After that, you might still ask me: But Donna! Where would they get the money for the movie? Money and resources for movies don't just pop out of the ground!

Easy answer: The movie already exists. And a TV special.

They should have just skipped the book and moved straight into the movie and TV special.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm sure it works better than the book.

The Wave is an easy read. It's quick, and can easily be read in one sitting. However, it really doesn't work. If you want to find out how The Wave unfolded, then watch the movie of TV special.

Note: There are two versions of The Wave. One is in english and is written by Todd Strasser. The other version of The Wave is written in German and is by Morton Rhue. I read the German version of The Wave by Morton Rhue, translated into English. Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either.


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