Thursday, July 2, 2015

Julie's Review: In The Unlikely Event


Author: Judy Blume
Series: None
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Alfred Knopf
Pages: 416
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Judy Blume at her best
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: 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. ~amazon.com

Review: In the Unlikely Event is pretty much everything you want in a Judy Blume novel. She's written fantastic characters that will stay with you the rest of your life and a near perfect storyline. I loved that it was based on actual events that happened in New Jersey during the 1950s and something that I had no prior knowledge about.

The story is told beginning in 1987 when Miri Ammerman is about to go back to "celebrate" one of the worst years of her life but we don't really know what happened yet. Why was it the worst? How has it shaped her? Most of the novel is spent from 1952 onward and this is where we get to know Miri, Rusty, Harry and Irene, et all. There are a whole host of characters in this one but you know pretty darn quickly who the focus is on..the Ammerman's. I adored Miri; I felt for her and I wanted to hug her. She was coming into the hardest years of her life and then to have two traumatic situations happen in her backyard, made being 15 even worse.

Everyone around her is affected in different ways. Her best friend, Natalie, starts to act strangely and Miri wonders what she can do to get her old friend back. She really does just want things they way they were before the accidents.

Miri is a wonderful character. She's everything that I love in a heroine. She's bright, spunky and endearing. Actually I really loved her whole family; from her mother, Rusty to her Uncle Henry. They are a tight family unit but Miri has questions about her father. This is where the family clams up but sometimes you can't stop things from happening no matter what you want.

I also loved the time period that Ms. Blume chose because it is such a significant time of change for the country. This mirrors the time of change that Miri is going through as well. While this is marketed as an adult novel, I view it as a coming of age story. Sure it's a flashback from Miri's POV but it's really about her being 15 and experiencing a range of emotions. It is about finding what love and heartbreak is all about while dealing with a phenomenon you don't quite understand.

There's really not more I can say except it's a wonderful book and it's JUDY BLUME! So, do yourself a favor and read it.


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