From the moment a new TV set arrives at the Palmer household in 1954 in Newport News, Virginia, change is in the wind. Eleven-year-old Cassie glimpses snapshots of the future in the hypnotic test pattern. Mesmerized, Cassie sees snippets from Kennedy's assassination, the Beatles' debut, man's landing on the Moon, and the O. J. Simpson trial. Her starstruck mother, Lorena, delights in the magical images flickering on the screen too, and finds the strength to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Lorena soon plunges into an affair with an old flame, whose cousin turns out to be a talent scout for Arthur Godfrey, and risks her marriage to Cassie's dad, an accident-prone, depressed construction worker. As Lorena learns that the path to fame and fortune is strewn with obstacles, Cassie's own eyes are being opened to the world outside of provincial Newport News-and to the even richer world within herself. Brilliantly re-creating the innocence and energy of the '50s, Test Pattern is a tour de force of wit, spirit, and imagination. 271 pages.
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