Judy Blume – a true phenomenon who has been able to write for all ages for all times it seems.
I have always enjoyed her children’s books from Fudge to Are you there God, it’s me Margaret. What a treat now to be able to enjoy her work for adults. Enjoy is exactly what I did as I read In the Unlikely Event.
Taking us on a journey to Judy’s childhood hometown Elizabeth, New Jersey where we meet a cast of characters whose lives intertwine in some unexpected ways.
Written from the perspective of several characters we see life, love and tragedy through the eyes of children, adults and elderly residents.
This style of writing from each characters’ point of view is popular and I really enjoy it. The changing points of view allow me to connect with different characters and I find myself fonder of some and anxiously awaiting their next turn to “speak”. It makes it harder to put the book down which is a blessing if you have lots of time on your hands or don’t need a lot of sleep. A curse if you have lots of things on your to do list, dinner to make or if you don’t want the book to end too soon!
The plane crashes referenced in the book actually happened. I did not know this when I initially read the book. This real life history immediately made In the Unlikely Event even more meaningful. The setting being Judy’s hometown and the time period being the 1950’s when she actually grew up there gives us a glimpse of what life was actually like with not only real events but also actual places that existed then and some still existing there today.
"But you know, it's not what the book is about," Blume says. "It's about how unlikely events can happen to us at any time and how they change our lives and how when even tragedy strikes we go on. Because as my father used to say all the time, 'Life goes on. Life is for the living. You have to live every day.'"
The story and characters are fictitious, however in reading this tale I am reminded life is short, family is important and relationships are complicated but worth it.
Keep in mind this is adult fiction. There are some PG-13 teetering on rated R “scenes” depicted clearly yet tastefully in true Judy Blume form. The “movie ratings” will depend on how clearly your imagination depicts scenes as you read. They are easy to skim over if you so choose and not a reason to skip the book entirely if you are opposed to reading in detail about these situations or interactions.
My 11 year old daughter loves to read and always wants to read what I read, when she saw Judy Blume on the spine of the book of course she thinks of Fudge and wanted to dive right in after I was done. So I explained – books can be like movies of the mind. Sometimes you have to wait. She is just about ready though for some other books by Judy Blume.
Very touching, sometimes funny, always captivating In the Unlikely Event is one I didn’t want to put down.
A book I was sad to finish. Characters I didn’t want to say goodbye to yet. I didn’t want it to end. All signs of a great book.
Sadly, Judy Blume says this will be her last novel for adults and I suppose at the age of 77 she may want to take some time off. Thankfully her iconic works will live on to be enjoyed over and over again.
What is your favorite Judy Blume book? I would love to know! Comment below.
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