In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

October 27, 2015 Whitney Review 0 Comments

In The Unlikely Event by Judy BlumeIn The Unlikely Event
Author Judy Blume
Publisher Knopf
Publication Date June 2, 2015
Source: Library

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, Judy Blume imagines and weaves together a haunting story of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by these disasters. 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 a gripping novel with all the hallmarks of Judy Blume's unparalleled storytelling.

First Impressions

I always enjoyed Judy Blume’s young adult novels growing up, therefore, I was looking forward to her foray into adult fiction.

Unfortunately, In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume read like a young adult novel.  Blume’s book had a grown-up topic, but the simplicity and continual reminders of what happened previously made it repetitive and a little annoying screaming Y.A.

Impressions While Reading

The novel also had a lot of characters and was told from numerous points of view.  This was a good idea in theory, but it became a bit confusing and had to go back several times to place who the character was.  If a person were to read In The Unlikely Event straight through I do not think this would be a problem, but for those like myself who could not read the book in one sitting it could become tedious.

There were four character plots that irked me as well.  One was Miri’s best friend Natalie who inhibits the souls of one of the crash victims.  She becomes obsessed with dance.  It is all a bit schizophrenic.  It seemed unnecessary to the story.

The second was the identity and reconnection with Miri’s birth father.  The friction between Father and Daughter added drama to the story.   It helped with the development of the character and exploration of her family unit but, the author dropped the subplot halfway and was only a deterrent.

Lastly, I really dislike affairs in stories.  I believe this is mainly due to the fact that I am personally disgusted by the idea of this magnitude of betrayal.  That being said there are not one but two such incidents.  One by Miri’s boyfriend (with an older woman I may add) and the second was by Miri’s mother Rusty with Natalie’s father.  If Judy Blume was aiming for a soapbox, she succeeded but it just didn’t work for me.

Final Impressions

I think In The Unlikely Event had great potential but didn’t quite make the mark.  If it had focused more on the aftermath instead of small town drama this could have been an okay book.  Instead it was typecast into young adult literature and was just all over the place.  In other words, it crashed and burned.


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