Judy Blume’s writing is simply a delight. I have never read a novel by Blume that I haven’t sped through and thoroughly enjoyed, and I’ve been reading her novels since I was a preteen.
Her latest, “In the Unlikely Event” does not disappoint. Recently released, the book is set in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Blume came of age in the 1950s, in this town, and readers have to wonder how strong the connection is between the novel’s protagonist, Miri, and Blume herself. as the story is set in that time period.
Miri and her friends are in the full grips of all the wonderful and terrible things you learn as a teenager. Envy of others, and embarrassment of your own lifestyle, family and wealth are all present in the story. First loves, betrayals and reunions also are poignantly depicted. All this is set against the backdrop of a series of three tragic airline crashes that happened in Elizabeth within two months.
References to hairstyles, music, furnishings and automobiles make you feel like you’re actually experiencing an era when so much was changing so quickly. Author notes at the end of the novel reveal that Blume not only relied on her memories of the plane crashes but also conducted extensive research to depict them accurately.
Blume is a master at presenting the complexities of life. This novel is entertaining, heartbreaking, and redeeming, components necessary for a great story. Make sure “In the Unlikely Event” is on your summer reading list; you will not be disappointed.