In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume takes the crown of by far the most captivating read that I have read in my lifetime.
Like any young woman I was introduced to Judy Blume through her young adult novels. The first one that I ever read was Blubber, and I loved it. Even though I was the resident “skinny” kid in my class I could relate to the main character, Linda. Where she was teased about her weight, I was teased that I was too skinny and that I needed braces.
In the Unlikely Event has a similar cast of characters that you bond with. With the exception of the fantastic series of Song of Ice and Fire, starting with Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin has a cast been this vast or detailed. All characters play pivotal roles unto each other however is a main character needs to be identified it is 15 year old Miri.
I have heard other people think of this book as a more of a Teen read as the main character is a Teen. I disagree. The subject matter is little dark , 3 plane crashes in a short time all in the same town of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Not your typical Judy Blume.
What is the most compelling is that Judy Blume draws from her life experience to write this book of fiction.
Judy lived in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in the 1950’s when these 3 plane crashes occurred.
Dec 16, 1951 the first plane went down, Jan 22, 1952 the second plane crashes into the city and Feb 11, 1952 the third plane hits Elizabeth, New Jersey. I’m not going to give away the locations of the crashes or the outcome for the city, because they are relevant to the story.
I do want to say that the mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey at the time of the crashes was James T. Kirk.
I had to verify it with a few sources to be sure.
So before he was the protagonist in Star Trek, he was a mayor. Not really, because Gene Roddenberry named the famous starship captain from the British explorer James Cook. But what a coincidence.
The book jumps from character to character with their name appearing at the top of the paragraph.
Even though it would seem choppy, it has a unusual flow.
It also has articles written by the Miri’s uncle Henry, which keeps you up to date in the aftermath of the crashes.
Each character deals with the grief of the losses in their own way, all the while the heaviest burden is on the town Dentist, Dr. Osner, to identify the bodies.
A gripping book beginning to end.
I’m glad that I didn’t read this before my trip to Montreal. It was on these small jaunts (a shuttle between a few states) that the planes crashed.
For the characters I wept at their funerals, had my stomach flutter at their first kiss and felt a mother’s pain at the loss of her child.
This book has an extreme range of emotion and it changes with each flip of the page.
It’s been 17 years since Summer Sisters (released in 1998) that Judy Blume has written anything for adults. I know she writes wonderful, amazing and any other word for fantastic that you can think of for youth. But when someone who has this gift of spinning such an intricate web of characters and you feel that you are connected to each one, a reader should not have to wait 17 years to feel that again. So my ask is this of Judy Blume, please, in a few years (or less if it so inspires you) write another adult fiction novel. For now, the book clubs have many characters to dissect, it may take them a few years to get through them all.