Seventeen Swedish high school students tell in turn about their involvement in a protest that begins with mild complaints to...

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THE SIT-IN GAME

Seventeen Swedish high school students tell in turn about their involvement in a protest that begins with mild complaints to their teachers and prinicipal (against rote learning and academic rules) and ends -- after authorities refuse to take the group seriously -- in an all night sit-in which is brutally broken up by the police. The students come together over their resistance to dull courses and apathetic teachers, their sense of the disparity between social democratic rhetoric and their position at the bottom of a bureaucratic pyramid, and by specific problems (one girl, Britt, has been asked to leave school because she is pregnant). But their communal spirit bums only briefly, through one night of singing protest songs and rapping in the half-built school they occupy. Then police brutality shatters their unity and each goes his own way -- most back to school, Britt to become ""mature"" and a mother, Maria to be a ""nutcase"" and ""out of the game"", and Svensson, the original leader, to dream of a great movement and a school of his own. Americans will likely find the motivations for this rebellion rather abstract and Dahlin, herself seventeen, creates powerful images of private pain and sudden violence without ever venturing, beyond the student's personal, sometimes limited, reactions. But though the pseudo documentary method leaves large gaps in our acquaintance with both the characters and the educational system they find so frustrating, and despite the pessimistic outcome, the scenario leaves enough room to allow readers -- especially those who can make contact with the students' cerebral Swedish style -- to participate vicariously in the search for individual integrity and group identity.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1974