Fun & Games by David Michael Slater
(Excerpt from Goodreads) The 1980’s: it’s the time of Dungeons & Dragons, banana clips, and Atari. Jonathan Schwartz is growing up in a family like no other. His sisters, Nadia, the dark genius, and Olivia, the gorgeous tease and temptress, manipulate Jon and his friends for their own entertainment. And his Holocaust survivor grandparents? Their coping techniques are beyond embarrassing. A disastrous visit to Jon’s class by his grandmother unhinges his famous father, setting off a chain of events that threatens to send the dysfunctional Schwartz clan up in flames once and for all. Fun & Games is a heartbreaking and hilarious story of faith, family secrets, betrayal, and loss-but it’s also a tale of friendship, love, and side-splitting shenanigans.
On the surface, this is a story about Jonathan Schwartz and growing up in the 80’s. We start with him playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends while working on a Purity Test. We follow along as Jon deals with daily issues of growing up, getting into trouble with his friends, and going through High School. He is also part of an interesting family. His grandparents survived the Nazi Occupation and have their own way of coping. His father doesn’t believe in Good. And simply family outings have so much more meaning and heartbreak than what is seen on the surface. When Jon goes to college there is a tragedy that changes everything and lets him reflect on his past.
This was an interesting story. I grew up in the 80’s and although I didn’t really participate in much Dungeons & Dragons I definitely remember it. I laughed at some of the stuff Jon and his friends get into. But at the same time I felt for him and his family and the things they were going through. Not everything is what it looks like on the surface and Jon’s family is the best example. Even when they go on an adventure I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the grandmother.
But the way the book was put together seemed a little disjointed. I understand in different settings, at different times, and with different events things change. Unfortunately this made the book feel choppy moving from on this to another. I think it would have been better if the book would have been broken up.
Having said that, Fun & Games is a pretty good book. I did enjoy it and sure remembered growing up and the stuff I got into as a kid.
I received Fun & Games for free in exchange for an honest review.