I was a huge Judy Blume fan growing up. Whenever I saw one of her books at the school library, it was a given that it would end up in my final stack.
When I read that her newest book was released recently, I turned into a 12 year old girl again! But this time there was no library (and no wait!). I went on my Kindle and bought a copy of In the Unlikely Event, and within days, I was engrossed!.
The story is based on actual events from Blume’s childhood. When she was in the eighth grade, the town of Elizabeth, New Jersey was hit with three tragic plane crashes. She used those events and everything that happened before and after as the foundation of In the Unlikely Event.
The book itself follows the point of view of multiple characters as they deal with the aftermath of these crashes. Miri, the main protagonist, is connected to all the other characters in one way or another. Miri’s teenage character is beautifully developed, and as you read the story from her perspective, you see Blume’s talent shine through.
Blume also does an amazing job of describing life in the early 50’s – from the way people talked and behaved, to the clothing, to the stress of living in the shadow of a war. As a reader, you get a real sense of what the characters experienced in a time that is so different from our own.
As my friend Ankita said, the book does a good job of making you realize that everyone has a story to tell and that life is really precious.
While I enjoyed the book overall, there were a two aspects that didn’t jive with me. One, there were too many characters and POVs. I see how she used that technique to give readers a holistic perspective, but with all the back and forth, it didn’t leave much room for meaningful character development. And two, I didn’t like the ending at all. I must have said “WTF” 15 times while reading the last third of the book. While you do get closure with all of the characters, I felt like the ending was rushed and off balance.
My expectations for this book were sky high, and while I’m glad I read it, it was an average/very slightly above average read in my opinion.
Are you a Judy Blume fan?
What are you currently reading? I finally started The Poisonwood Bible!
12 thoughts on “Judy Blume’s ‘In the Unlikely Event’”
I was a huge Judy Blume fan as a child, too! I am still quite the book nerd but I’m not currently reading anything. I might pick this one up but I seriously hate bad endings and now you have me worried!
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Oh man! Didn’t mean to worry you! It’s definitely worth a read. I guess I’m just picky when it comes to book endings. 🙂
I have to admit: I skimmed your post b/c I didn’t want to have any spoilers about this book. Not that you would provide spoilers! But I want to go into reading this without any real knowledge other than maybe I’ll be a 12-year-old again LOL. I can’t wait to read this book! It’s on hold for me at the library so hopefully it’ll become available soon. I am currently reading Armada by Ernest Cline. He’s the author of Ready Player One, which was my FAV book I read this year (although the book is from a few years back). I haven’t really had a chance to dive into it so much, so I’m hoping I can make a decent dent in it this weekend. After that, I have the second book in the Hodges Trilogy from Stephen King called Finders Keepers! Exciting 😀 I’m also four books away from my reading goal for the year!!
Let me know what you think!
And you always have great book recs. Definitely jotting some of these down!
I loved Judy Blume but I was worried the book would be disappointing, just with all the hype, so I’m glad to have this review so I know more of what to expect!
I just started the Neon Bible, and I’ve been reading Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins for awhile now. It’s really good, but for some reason it’s taking me a long time to get through it, probably because I’m reading a few informational books on the side.
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It’s definitely worth a read, especially if you’re a JB fan. I guess I’m just picky when it comes to the ending of books!
I never got into Judy Blume when I was a kid (she was huge among some friends though). However, this is one book I really want to read!
I’m currently reading (or, trying to read) the first book in the Game of Thrones series.
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Oh, I’ve heard the GoT books are good but very dense! Good luck 🙂
I was a huge Judy Blume fan! So you are a tad bit disappointed now? 🙁 I think I will still put it on my list I am curious! I was also told you did a fab review on a trip you took to Italy, I am planning one and would love to read your review! do you mind replying with the link?
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A little disappointed but more so because I had SUPER high expectations! Definitely still worth a read though.
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This probably sounds crazy but I don’t think I’ve ready any Judy Blume books! I might have to do a little summer reading 🙂
Definitely check out some of her books – really easy to get through and entertaining. Perfect for the summertime!