Title: Crashing Eden
Author: Michael Sussman
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Concepts: tradeoffs, opportunity cost, scarcity, production, technological innovation
Review: Joss Kazdan had already experienced more than his fair share of grief and trouble by the time he turned seventeen. He felt responsible for the death of his younger brother, Eli, who had committed suicide after being bullied by Joss and a school bully. Joss had spent some time in a juvenile detention center after he torched the bully's house, unknowingly inflicting severe burns on the sister who had remained inside. Moreover, his mother gave him nothing but hostility and his father languished at home with grief-induced writer's block.
These problems could have driven Joss toward greater despair and more violence were it not for a serendipitous bicycle accident that left him with the ability to hear an unusual "OM" sound. This sound gave him feelings of unspeakable happiness and serenity that helped all of his troubles melt away. More coincidences led him to meet a couple of researchers who had developed a device that would allow other people to hear this special sound. Little did any of them realize the incredibly steep price that society would pay for the mass production and distribution of this new technology.
This book weaves together elements of dystopia, theology, fantasy, and teen angst to offer the reader an interesting story about a teen who has found the path to utter contentment and peace. Added to the mix are a number of economics concepts related to tradeoffs, opportunity cost, technological innovation, production, and scarcity. Although the plot development has a somewhat uneven pace, readers should enjoy an unusual book that will make them think about the societal costs of trying to live in paradise.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children