In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Digital Audiobook narrated by Kathleen McInerney
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.
I stubbornly plowed my way through this book.
I wanted to be interested in it, but it was slow-paced and rough. In the beginning, I was carrying on for the plane crashes. Isn’t that morbid? My thoughts were: Well, I know there are supposed to be three plane crashes so this is going to get more interesting at some point. I think my issue with this book is largely because it seemed to be marketed as a disaster story, but the disasters were backdrop of a different story. It’s a story about truth and lies and it didn’t fit with the plane crashes and there were so many characters that didn’t matter.
So many characters. Chapters were written in at least fifteen different voices, some speaking up only once. Some to add a personal connection to the crashes, but most of them are about the various people who are somehow vaguely connected to Miri in her story of tragedy and puppy love.
I wanted to like this book because it was written by Judy Blume, and Judy Blume wrote so many important books in my childhood. It’s so tempting to follow childhood favorite authors into the books they write for adults. I think that In the Unlikely Event would be an enjoyable read for those who like dramatic romances. This book fits that genre very well, but I often get bored by it. I really did plug through this book like it was a chore – by the time all three planes had crashed, I was far enough into the book to commit to the rest of it.
It’s not a thriller, though, not in the least. This book can be argued as anything between YA – since Miri is the strongest voice and is a high schooler – to adult and it will be perfect for people who like romance, fiction, and have the patience for a slowly developing story