When I heard earlier this year that Judy Blume was coming out with a new novel, specifically for adults, I got excited. I love her books and her unique style of writing so I had In the Unlikely Event first on my list to read this summer when it came out. Then I heard it was about plane crashes. My mind changed and I decided to wait until after our trips to Las Vegas (ironically) and France.
Over Thanksgiving weekend I decided it was finally time to sit down and read In The Unlikely Event. I have no immediate upcoming trips and I was ready for a change of pace on books I’ve been reading. Somehow it took me two full weeks to read every single detail of In The Unlikely Event and I loved it!
In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.
In the Unlikely Event is vintage Judy Blume, with all the hallmarks of Judy Blume’s unparalleled storytelling, and full of memorable characters who cope with loss, remember the good times and, finally, wonder at the joy that keeps them going.
As I started reading In the Unlikely Event I realized very quickly that it was not at all what I had expected it to be and that was okay. There were A LOT of characters to remember very quickly. Many of which I don’t remember as the book has ended. As each of the plane crashes takes place we learn a little bit about the passengers who were on board. Some are mentioned again and again throughout the book and some have their stories end with their plane crash.
Knowing that these plane crashes really happened made the book very interesting, especially considering the characters & their story lines are not real. Miri was the main character we focused on throughout the book. After witnessing the first plane crash we saw most of the story through her eyes. At 15, her life changed in an instant.
I loved how Judy Blume showed us the way Elizabeth and the people of the town dealt with the plane crash. So many lives were changed, even though they weren’t necessarily on the plane. The book took place over less than a year (for the most part) but the amount of detail in each of the characters lives was incredible. The main characters really became real, which I feel like is something doesn’t always happen in books.
Judy Blume was criticized in some ways after the book was released for not retelling the story from the eyes of those who were actually there. I personally loved the way the book was written and was more comfortable knowing the characters knowing that they were not real.
Each of the characters had their own way of dealing with the events of that winter. There were eating disorders, friendships broken, relationships started, relationships ended, divorces and deaths. Overall I found myself wanting to know more about them and what happened as their lives went on. I loved that we were able to see how it ended up 35 years later.
Pick up a copy of In the Unlikely Event and prepare to get sucked in. It was a wonderful book and I would highly recommend it.
Have you read In the Unlikely event? What did you think?