Testing the Current develops slowly. It's a coming of age story with a perceptive main character, Tommy, who witnesses the varieties of life in his WASP centered upper middle class life. His family has made it finically through the Depression, but things are of course only calm on the surface. Tommy notices things about his neighbors, as well as things that don't quite add up about his family, and because of his age points them out. The mood of a Midwestern US/Canadian border town permeates this story, and it is very much a mood piece at times. At others, there is an excellent connection between things Tommy has noticed earlier and later developments in the plot. Testing the Current may not be fast paced and may not always immediately display connections between the anecdotes Tommy experiences, but in the end the plot elements as well as Tommy's character are skillfully developed by the author, William McPherson. While I don't generally care for coming-of-age novels, this addition to the genre is well worth the read.