Review: In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

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I was provided with a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: In the Unlikely Event
Author: Judy Blume
Publisher: Doubleday Canada: an imprint of Random House
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Pages: 432
Stars: 5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): In her highly anticipated new novel, Judy Blume, the New York Times # 1 best-selling author of Summer Sisters and of young adult classics such as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, creates a richly textured and moving story of three generations of families, friends and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by unexpected events.

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, 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 vintage Judy Blume, with all the hallmarks of Judy Blume’s unparalleled storytelling, and full of memorable characters who cope with loss, remember the good times and, finally, wonder at the joy that keeps them going.

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As a huge fan of Judy Blume, it was hard not to pass up on an opportunity to read this stunning novel. In the Unlikely Event is a classic Judy Blume story that will definitely satisfy the needs of her huge following. This work of historical fiction contains differing points of view and probes the themes of adolescence and grief.

Mostly set in 1952, in the small town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, In the Unlikely Event is a snapshot of an era long ago. Through the use of newspaper clippings based on actual events, Blume has constructed a setting that carefully describes important events and what life was like in the small town that she actually grew up in. There is also mention of various articles owned by young women during the time period, such as saddle shoes, cashmere sweaters and Volupte compacts, painting a beautiful picture in the reader’s mind. As well, mentions of popular music, dances, movies and actors that were of great significance to the youth in the 1950s are woven throughout the book, giving readers a real sense of nostalgia.

Alternating the voices of the various characters in the novel gives the reader a deeper understanding of some of the issues and various tragic events that occur. While there are quite a few perspectives given by Blume, Miri is really our main protagonist. Miri is a fifteen year old girl throughout most of this book. Her character is extremely relatable and although this story is targeted for the adult audience, it is this fantastically well developed character that leads one to argue that this book can cross into the young adult genre. Miri is a typical teen girl from the 50s that struggles with many issues similar to today’s teens.

Like many other Judy Blume works of fiction, In the Unlikely Event explores the themes of adolescence and grief. Through Miri and other teenage characters, Blume unveils many issues related to coming of age. She enlightens readers about the bittersweetness of first love, female friendships, mental disorders and anorexia. A common theme that resonates for all of the characters is grief. Reading each perspective, one gets a feeling for the struggles each character is coping with, whether the character is male or female, young or old, single or married. This entire community is grieving and the events affect them all in different ways, making Blume’s novel so rich and detailed.

Providing her readers with a window to the past, Judy Blume has brought to life a narrative that explores events that occurred in history through different perspectives and themes. In the Unlikely Event is surely a book that can appeal to a wide audience and become a book that all generations can relate to. It is one that definitely can be added to the list of all time greatest books by Judy Blume.

4 thoughts on “Review: In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

  1. Jaime Lynn says:

    Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret is literally one of my favorite books. Even now, at 32. I remember reading and rereading it so many times when I was a youngin. I will have to check this out, even though it isn’t really my kind of story, just for the nostalgia!

    Like

  2. Hazel says:

    Excellent review! It’s been close to 20 years since I read a Judy Blume book but I’m looking forward to reading this.

    Like

  3. Emma Rose says:

    I didn’t even know Judy Blume had a new book out! The things I miss because of living on the other side of the world. Or my Facebook friends aren’t talking about the right books. I have loved Judy Blume since I was in fifth/sixth grade and I love Summer Sisters as well. Can’t wait to read this one.

    Like

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