|Now||2019||Previous||Articles||Road Essays||Road Reviews||Author||Title||Source||Age||Genre||Series||Format||Inclusivity||LGBTA||Portfolio||Artwork|
This Is Just a Test: 08/27/18
This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang reminds me of Rose Kent's Kimchi and Calamari in that it's a middle grade novel about a boy growing up in a blend of cultures. In this case, it's about a Chinese-American boy, David Da-Wei Horowitz getting ready for his bar mitzvah. As it's framed around a bar mitzvah, it's also a good match for My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman.
While David is trying to get ready for his bar mitzvah he has to contend with two very opinionated grandmothers who both believe their way is the best way. In the past, David's only had to worry about one but now both are living in his home — at least for the duration of the preparation. It doesn't matter what it is, they each will insist they know the right way to do it. A great scene demonstrating the clashing grandmothers comes at Hanukkah where they get into a latke competition (wok and chopsticks vs frying pan and fork). The upside is that David and his family have more latkes to eat as they "judge" the best way.
All of this mayhem is set against the backdrop of the made for TV movie The Day After which aired in 1983. It gets David's friends thinking about nuclear war and they decide to prepare. They do this by trying (and failing) to dig a fallout shelter.
As some one who was just about David's age in 1983, I can say the historical setting is written with an authentic voice. That backdrop isn't necessary for such a family and friend oriented story but it does fill out the fictional world.