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In the vein of The Chosen, Catcher in the Rye, and The Kite Runner comes Adam Unrehearsed, a “hilarious, deeply moving, coming-of-age comedy” (Yossi Klein Halevi).
From the moment he’s mugged on the subway home from Bat Day at Yankee Stadium, things go wrong for twelve-year-old Adam Miller. He is in the Special Program for brainy kids, but his new junior high is on triple shift. When he gets on the wrong side of several gangs and needs them most, his friends disappear. As if that’s not enough, Adam discovers that his older brother has become a Zionist militant, his synagogue is repeatedly vandalized, and despite Adam’s “skinny voice,” his crazy new Cantor has grandiose plans for his Bar Mitzvah. Meanwhile, Adam dreams of his summer camp girlfriend in far off New Rochelle, but he’s too shy to pick up the phone. He even fails at shoplifting.
Bewildered and alone, Adam finds his only solace onstage, where he discovers the power of theater to bridge social divides. As he learns to stand out and stand up for himself, friends appear in the most unexpected places and Adam Miller discovers his own voice.
Adam Unrehearsed is a story of friendship, betrayal, life, death, and acting. Colum McCann called it “comical…lyrical…menacing…gritty…tender…compassionate and propulsive.” Adam Unrehearsed will do for Flushing what Philip Roth did for Newark. Set in New York in 1970, just as American Jewry is coming of age, this is the next generation of great American Jewish fiction
“Adam Unrehearsed will shake your soul. It’s comical. It’s lyrical. It’s menacing. It’s gritty. It’s tender. And it rings true. Futterman’s novel brilliantly captures the shifting sands of boyhood friendships, sibling adulation, and the confusion that marks even the best intentions of mentors and students. This is a sure-handed debut, compassionate and propulsive.”
–Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin (National Book Award for Fiction)
“A classic. This hilarious, deeply moving, beautifully written novel brilliantly captures the atmosphere and the angst of Jewish New York of the early 1970s. The portrayal of young Adam’s inner life, and his emerging Jewish identity, is one of the best I’ve read in contemporary American Jewish fiction.”
–Yossi Klein Halevi, Like Dreamers (Jewish Book Council’s Everett Book of the Year Award)
“Don Futterman is a master storyteller. In this gripping, moving, coming-of-age novel, Futterman bravely explores the often-unspoken boundaries children growing up in multicultural environments learn to navigate instinctively. With a sharp eye and a pitch-perfect ear, Futterman deftly brings those of us who grew up in Queens right back to that rich, complex, world—without forgetting those who would find that time and place unfamiliar. Most important of all, this must-read is a fun-read.”
–Gil Troy, Age of Clinton and The Zionist Ideas
“Never mind ‘unrehearsed’—from the central character of the unexpectedly irrepressible Adam to the most peripheral cast member, Futterman seems to be simply the faithful scribe, chronicling people who already exist, in a school, and a city, that we come to feel we inhabit. Not only do they exist, they roar to life and they make us care. They make us cheer or they make us worry or, occasionally, they make us tear up, as Adam wrestles with the eternal dilemma of American Jews—which of those two words will define him, and will he even have any choice in the matter? Fabulous.”
–James Inverne, playwright & cultural commentator (The Impresarios, Wrestling with Elephants, The Faber Pocket Guide to Musicals)