Friday, June 26, 2015
Book Review: In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Author: Judy Blume
Enjoyment Rating: *****
Content Alert: Some sex, some swearing
Within a three-month period in 1951-1952, there were three major commercial plane crashes in Elizabeth, New Jersey (near Newark airport). Author Judy Blume was an eighth-grader in Elizabeth at the time, and in her most recent novel, Blume fictionalizes that experience. Although In the Unlikely Event is told from the point of view of more than a dozen characters, the one at the center of the story is Miri Ammerman, a ninth-grader who experiences first love and lots of changes within her family and friend group in the months that the planes are falling from the skies.
When I was twelve, Judy Blume was my favorite author. She taught me all about periods, mastrubation, sex, scoliosis, party lines and divorce, and I read her books over and over again. I loved her so much back then, probably because she seemed to trust young girls with hard topics. All of those happy feelings came rushing back in In the Unlikely Event. Miri Ammerman could be Margaret or Deenie, and Blume is still a master of all of the insecurities that young girls feel. There are lots of voices in this story, and lots of threads to keep track of, but I found that after a hundred pages or so, it wasn't hard to keep things straight. What was hard was turning off my audiobook long enough to engage with my family.