Adam Unrehearsed (Hardcover)

Adam Unrehearsed By Don Futterman Cover Image

Adam Unrehearsed (Hardcover)


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National Jewish Book Awards Finalist

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 out of control. When he gets on the wrong side of several gangs and needs his friends most, they abandon him. 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.

Adam Unrehearsed is “comical…lyrical… menacing… gritty… tender… compassionate and propulsive” (Colum McCann), it’s “funny, wise, heartbreaking and heart-healing…” (Pamela Schoenewaldt, Historical Novel Society). Set in New York in 1970, just as American Jewry is coming of age, this coming-of-age story is the next generation of great American Jewish fiction.
Writer, actor and storyteller, Don Futterman has written for the Daily Beast and for the past eleven years has been a co-host of TLV1’s The Promised Podcast, a weekly review of Israeli politics and society with more than three million downloads. In addition, Don has been a columnist for Haaretz, has a performance podcast of autobiographical monologues, Futterman’s One-Man Show, and has published two children’s books in Hebrew.

Don is also the founding director of the Israel Center for Educational Innovation (ICEI), which transforms underperforming Jewish & Arab elementary schools serving low-income communities, including the Ethiopian immigrant community, and is the Israel Director of the Moriah Fund, a private American foundation working to strengthen liberal democracy in Israel and the US. Married with three children, Don grew up a public school boy in Flushing and currently lives in Israel.
Product Details ISBN: 9781637589014
ISBN-10: 1637589018
Publisher: Wicked Son
Publication Date: November 14th, 2023
Pages: 320
Language: English
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."
Gil Troy, author of 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)