Wicked Son

Adam Unrehearsed


Adam Unrehearsed is a coming-of-age novel and social comedy about a twelve-year-old boy as he takes a deep dive into the real world.

From the moment he’s mugged on the subway home from Yankee Stadium, twelve-year-old Adam Miller’s life goes off track. Adam is in the Special Program for brainy kids, but his new junior high is spinning out of control. His crazy new Cantor has grandiose ambitions for his big day despite Adam’s “skinny” voice. To make matters worse, Adam gets on the wrong side of a local gang, and just when he needs them most, his friends disappear.

Bewildered and alone, Adam finds his only solace onstage, where he discovers the joy of acting and the power of theater to bridge social divides.

Adam Unrehearsed is a story of friendship, betrayal, life, death, and acting.

Adam Unrehearsed will shake your soul out. It’s comical. It’s lyrical. It’s menacing. It’s gritty. It’s tender. And it rings true. Futterman’s novel returns us to that moment in our lives when we begin to try to grasp the seemingly ungraspable adult world. It 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. It nudges up against today and reaches back to the past where our betrayals and alliances infinitely lie.”

–Colum McCann, Author of Let the Great World Spin (National Book Award for Fiction), Transatlantic and Apeirogon (National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, Longlisted for the Booker Prize)

“This hilarious, deeply moving, beautifully written novel brilliantly captures the atmosphere and the angst of Jewish New York of the early 1970s. Adam Unrehearsed is an American Jewish coming of age story, whose twelve-year-old protagonist struggles to understand his relationship to the Holocaust, the Soviet Jewry protest movement and black-Jewish tensions, while navigating the torments of junior high school and his impending bar mitzvah. 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. Don Futterman has written a classic.

–Yossi Klein Halevi, senior fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute and author of Like Dreamers, winner of the 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.

–Professor Gil Troy, author of Age of Clinton and The Zionist Ideas