Excellent: In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

I’ve been reading Judy Blume books my entire life (or so it seems).  I loved her books when I was a child and I have found so much enjoyment reading her adult books in recent years.  I was so excited to hear that a new book would be released this year and so happy to bring In The Unlikely Event with me to read on the dock at the cottage this summer.

I always thought there was some kind of magic in Blume’s writing because even when I was a kid, it was like she just got it.  It was a grown up who knew what was actually going on and many of her characters thoughts were things I was thinking about or questioning.  I was reminded of that feeling with this book because you get to know every character so well and their voices are so clear regardless of their age or their significance in the story.  Her characters feel so real; almost like they are actual people you could get to know.

This novel is based in some reality as it begins 35 years after a number of airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1951 to 1952 and goes back to that time.  Judy Blume was a teenager and lived in Elizabeth during this time so while the book is a work of fiction, I think her insight has helped her create an amazing story.  Miri Ammerman is the central character and much of the story is told from her perspective but you get to meet many of the other characters.  The story progresses through all of their experiences – they are rich and diverse characters whose lives intersect as they experience and are impacted by each crash.

What I realized through this is how much of real life is reflected in her story as life keeps moving forward while the town grieves – love stories, loss, necessary heroics and so much more – and this quote sums it up quite well:

In the unlikely event…she hears the flight attendant saying in her head.  Life is a series of unlikely events, isn’t it?  Hers certainly is.  One unlikely event after another, adding up to a rich, complicated whole.  And who knows what’s still to come?” (Blume, 394)

I think it also sums up real life.

I know that I will add this to my list of books that I re-read every now and then.  It’s certainly worth it!

K

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