Colum McCann (Let the Great World Spin, National Book Award for Fiction):
“Comical, lyrical, menacing, gritty, tender… compassionate and propulsive…and it rings true… a sure handed debut…”
Yossi Klein Halevi (Like Dreamers – Jewish Book Council’s Everett Book of the Year Award):
“Don Futterman has written a classic… hilarious… deeply moving… American Jewish coming of age comedy… brilliantly captures the atmosphere and the angst of Jewish New York of the early 1970s…”
Pamela Schoenewaldt (Historical Novel Society):
“Funny, wise, heartbreaking and heart-healing, Futterman’s novel reaches across time, ethnicity and faith traditions to bore into the universalities of youth.”
Jesse Szalay (Jewish Book Council):
“No matter how old you are or where you’re from, reading Adam Unrehearsed will make you feel young again, in all the best ways.”
Natalia Kavale (BookTrib):
“A literary masterpiece. The author’s wit and comedic timing are nothing short of genius… a microcosm of the broader historical context of Jewish-American and African-American relations…”
Linda Gradstein (The Jerusalem Report):
“A thrilling coming-of-age novel set in Queens… set against the background of antisemitism (some things never change), the Soviet Jewry movement, and those cringe-worthy moments of awkwardness we all remember from our youth… A great read and highly recommended."
Gil Troy (The Zionist Ideas, Moynihan’s Moment):
“A master storyteller… gripping, moving… a sharp eye and a pitch-perfect ear… this must-read is a fun-read.”
James Inverne (The Impresarios, Wrestling with Elephants, The Faber Pocket Guide to Musicals):
“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."
John L. Rosove (Why Israel and Its Future Matters, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los Angeles):
“Masterfully crafted… compelling and timely… every detail carries relevance and importance… I didn’t want the novel to end.”
In the vein of The Chosen, Catcher in the Rye and The Kite Runner comes a “hilarious, deeply moving, coming-of-age comedy,”(Yossi Klein Halevi, Like Dreamers).
Don transports readers back to New York City in the 1970’s – an era of angst and idealism, rising urban crime and political conflicts, but also the moment when American Jews felt secure and accepted for the very first time. It was a fraught and exhilarating time for a boy in Flushing to grow up. Adam Unrehearsed brings readers a universally appealing story of friendship, ostracism, betrayal, death and acting.
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 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)
“Don Futterman has written 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
“Even more than merely ‘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)
This is a masterfully crafted novel with a compelling and timely story-line about the coming of age of a pre-bar mitzvah 12 year-old Jewish boy who deals with the emotional and psychological complexities of friendship, betrayal, self-discovery, first-love, loyalty, and family relationships. Though set within the specific cultural milieu of the early 1970s in Queens, NY, the novel holds universal relevance and appeal for any age and community. Don knows a lot about a lot of things: pop-culture, film, television, politics, Jewish, Zionist, American, and world history, the theater and acting, literature and the writer’s craft, and all of it is reflected in his richly told story. He weaves, with seeming ease, disparate strands of the plot and subplots into a unified whole in which every detail carries relevance and importance. Don’s writing is wonderfully descriptive in this page-turner of a novel that springs surprises and the unexpected continuously upon the reader. I didn’t want the novel to end.
- John L. Rosove, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los Angeles
- Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin (National Book Award for Fiction)
Early Praise for Adam Unrehearsed
More about Adam Unrehearsed:
About Don Futterman
BOOK CLUBS: Don would be happy to meet by phone or Zoom with Book Clubs which are discussing Adam Unrehearsed. To set up a book club meeting contact Don’s publicist, Ann-Marie Nieves, or send an email to Don.
JEWISH BOOK COUNCIL (JBC) NETWORK: If your institution is a member of the Jewish Book Council (JBC) Network, please go to the Adam Unrehearsed page on the JBC website, click on Don Futterman under the book title, Adam Unrehearsed, and then under “Book for an event” click on the blue circle which says JBC Network Author. This will take you to the booking instructions. You can also contact Suzanne Swift at firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer, podcaster and storyteller, Don Futterman has written for a variety of publications including The Daily Beast, Haaretz and The Times of Israel. A graduate of Brown University and the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, for the past 13 years Don 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. Don can also be heard on Futterman’s One-Man Show, a performance podcast of moving and funny autobiographical monologues. Don has published two children’s books in Hebrew, Yaniv’s Treasure (האוצר של יניב - הוצאת טל-מאי) and Up & Over (עד למעלה – הוצאת ספריית פיג'מה).
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 in Israel. He is the Israel Director of the Moriah Fund, a private American foundation working to advance civil rights and to promote equality and strengthen liberal democracy in the U.S. and Israel. Married with three children, Don grew up a public school boy in Flushing, Queens, NY and currently lives in Israel.