Read In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume Online

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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 hIn 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, 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.In the Unlikely Event is a gripping novel with all the hallmarks of Judy Blume's unparalleled storytelling....

Title : In the Unlikely Event
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781101875056
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 514 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

In the Unlikely Event Reviews

  • Jen
    2018-09-20 07:46

    Judy Blume. The name brings a warmth to it as memories flood back. Your books grew with me through my prepubescent years. "Super Fudge" was a rite of passage. "Are you there God, it’s me Margaret" explained the changes taking place in my young female body. So of course, I was delighted to find out you had written another book after a seemingly long gap in my life.But alas, "In the Unlikely Event", made me realize I’ve matured. The novel just didn’t do for me what your earlier ones could. Yes, it was a good story - fascinating to find out there were 3 plane crashes in Elizabeth, New Jersey which happened within weeks of each other. Yes, it was an easy read. However, there were just too many characters and too many points of view. I was rather disappointed to have to figure things out and gave up early as you were making me work too hard. Judy, you will "forever" stay a part of my reading history and the joy and magic you brought to my young reading mind, but unfortunately, In this unlikely event, I just feel I've outgrown you. "It's Not the End of the World", Judy Blume. Maybe I'll give it another go in the future or "Then Again, Maybe I won't". I give it 3 ★

  • chelka
    2018-09-26 11:03

    I didn't hate this book, necessarily, but it took me about 200 pages to get into it. The story is told from multiple point of views--and by multiple I mean like 20. Each perspective gets about a page and a half before the POV switches again. I thought this made the "action" crawl, and it was hard for me to keep going. By 200 pages, I was invested enough in the characters to care what happened. I normally wouldn't give a book that much time, but I wanted to finish it and give Judy Blume the benefit of the doubt. The story was interesting enough and the characters were interesting enough; but neither story nor characters were attention-grabbing. If I had to compare it to something, I'd put it on a level with Jacqueline Winspear's "The Care and Management of Lies," which I also read recently. Both are books from authors I like, and both have interesting stories at their core. But something about the writing gave them both a plodding energy, and they were tough to get through. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from reading "In the Unlikely Event," but I'm not going to recommend it, either.

  • Susan
    2018-10-16 07:47

    For the past 14 years, I've taught middle school students in three schools in Elizabeth, NJ, hometown of Judy Blume and the setting of this novel. Two of the three schools where I have taught were the schools (Hamilton, now a high school and Battin, now a K-8 school) that narrowly missed getting hit by the first and second crashes. I can look out my current classroom window and see where crash two happened. It's right across the street. Ironically, from the same window, I can see the skyline of lower Manhattan in the distance, and the site of the World Trade Center where the new, gleaming Freedom Tower stands. As someone whose career has been child-centered, I am disturbed that all three crashes narrowly missed places associated with children. Crash three just missed an orphanage (a school is now on the site). All this brings a personal connection to this novel, probably the closest connection I've ever felt for a novel.While the crashes are an important part of the novel, it is a coming of age novel. Being a middle school teacher who deals with students close in age to characters in the novel, I can relate to how children in Elizabeth at that time felt, how the crashes affected them, and how the coped, or didn't cope. The reader experiences all this through the characters. The novel also offers a glimpse back into the Elizabeth of 63 years ago that no longer exists. As a person who has spent so much time there, who knows the streets that are mentioned (when I taught at Hamilton, I parked on Sayre Street, the street where the protagonist lives) and who knows how much the city has changed, I appreciated that glimpse back into the early 1950s. I can also appreciate how very difficult this novel must have been for Judy Blume to write. When the protagonist says that certain burning smells bring her back to that time, that has to be Judy Blume's memory.

  • Jenna
    2018-10-15 11:55

    Three unlikely events happened in quick succession, and I'm not talking about the planes yet: that I got this book off library hold almost immediately; that I started reading it and didn't stop; and that I enjoyed it. So I feel responsible to try to contribute a useful review.Don't let the plane crashes fool you: this is a Judy Blume book through and through. All the typical Judy preoccupations - or rather, all the typical preoccupations of the typical Judy adolescent and young adult protagonists - are present: many underwear-related conundrums, best friend spats, bad haircuts, good posture, dancing with boys, various and sundry bathing suit area questions/concerns, Deflowering 101, who do I confide in about this, should I tell or not tell my mother that, how much am I likely to disappoint my grandparents, etc. etc. etc. Truly, it was like reading, "Are You There God? It's Me, Elizabeth (New Jersey)."Don't get me wrong: I think this is all a good thing! Judy Blume knows how to write a Judy Blume book, and that's what we want from her, right? In this sense, this is her magnum opus, the queen mother of all Judy Blume books, because it's Judy Blume on an epic, citywide scale: a portrait of 1950s Elizabeth, NJ, only in this version, Elizabeth is entirely populated by Judy Blume characters. And add into that mix the overarching question of the three planes, which provide an extra layer of anguishing, anxiety-provoking mystery - kind of like menstruation onset timing or breast development pace or other Blumesque worries, but to the zillionth power. And it makes perfect sense, because whether worrying about the mysteries of reproduction or whether the repeated plane crashes are being caused by Communists, Martians, or God, at the end of the day, the typical Blume heroine is really consumed by the existential question of when, how, and *whether* she will mature into adult womanhood - and, if so, how good of a job she will do at it when she gets there.I see many reviews stating the book has too many characters, skips around too much, and you don't get to spend enough time with any of them to, you know, develop a healthy attachment. It's true the book sometimes seems to skip around in a manner emulating Dickensian serial installments - IF Dickens happened to actually be Judy Blume and was interested in Existential Quandaries and Puberty Questions of Elizabeth, New Jersey rather than, say, Prison Reform, Child Labor, or The Corruption of the Legal System, Schools, and Basically All Societal Institutions. I didn't have any problem with this skipping about or the character count, but I happened to be sick in bed for the day and so read the book in pretty much one sitting, which may have helped mitigate the issue. However, I also think the book is really more of a collective portrait of a specific time, place, and community in relationship with itself and with some very specific and inexplicable circumstances. To that end, I think the bird's eye view perspective works well, especially as the community members' relationships and connections to one another are largely driven or influenced by the impact (literally) of these giant silver "birds," as they are called at least once, that fly and fall over the skies of Elizabeth. Another fascinating aspect of the book is Judy's apparently photographic memory and extremely detailed depiction of early 1950s daily life in Elizabeth. So many specific businesses and streets are described that you could practically draw a map. I kept envisioning those Family Circus cartoons with the little dashed lines showing where the kids ran around the neighborhood all day. That, or this retrospectively horrifying retro 50s board game we got from a garage sale in my childhood. That game was called Park and Shop, and that's exactly what you did in the game and a very large part of what the characters do in the book. (They also go to the dentist a HELL of a lot. He is practically the town mayor.) Anyway, these people shop like it's their job, and there is a specific store for every little thing. Fans of Mad Men will appreciate the book's depiction of the dawn of consumerism and advertising and thinking along the lines of: that bra/angora sweater/Birdseye frozen food/Cadillac/television/cigarette lighter/compact/pair of slingback heels will CHANGE MY LIFE FOREVER!! (There are so many brand names and store names mentioned in this book that it's practically a rap song, only one featuring exclusively material goods that are now way too bulky, large, and square.) Now, I'm not saying we're not still totally like this, but it's kind of freaky to see how we became this way, and geez, despite the fact it was all so much effort back then. Today we can practically buy things just by thinking about them, and then a drone drops it on the lawn.But I digress. My point is that the book is a fascinating historical document, and not just because of the planes (though her research on those details is just impeccable as well). I was born in the 70s, so not that long after that time, and it's not like I'm unfamiliar with 50s culture, or so I thought, but damn - Judy offers such rich detail about daily life and ritual (a nice contrast to offset the monthly falling planes) that the 50s for the first time seemed extremely distant and foreign to me. I felt like I may as well have been reading about the Victorian Era.And to bring this whole rant back to my original point about the book - this backdrop of capitalism and Progress and invention and control and creating All The Things to Solve All The Problems and Make Life Great and Convenient and Elegant is such a fabulous contrast to the fact that THREE DIFFERENT JETS CRASH ON THE SAME CITY THREE MONTHS IN A ROW!!!! If this isn't epic, then I don't know what is. And at a time without CNN or Google or widespread awareness of PTSD? And during war and McCarthyism and the space race? I don't know about you, but I would have gone Plum Nuts. It must have been like the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast, only Real.Judy thus does a great job of helping us understand one of those challenges literature exists to illuminate: when we humans think we are flying sky high and then get the wax melted right off our wings. As literary history shows, humans and their literature tend to magnificently freak out when our science proves no match for nature or when it's revealed to be too powerful or not powerful enough. The fact that Judy can write a book that (like Frankenstein, or pretty much all Modernism) explores such a challenge - and yet still make that book appealing to readers of freaking Deenie, or Blubber - prove that Judy is forever awesome, and that she has some heatproof wings, at least in my book.

  • Doug Bradshaw
    2018-09-26 11:45

    Only an established, popular author could have gotten this book published. It's as if she wanted to reminisce about growing up in a small community in New Jersey and the fact that three planes went down over a short period of time would somehow turn it into a tale worth telling. But it didn't. I was bored throughout, always hoping something would make it more exciting. It was kind of like watching old episodes of "Leave it to Beaver," kind of nostalgic, but not what I'm looking for in my reading.

  • Sarah
    2018-09-23 15:11

    I have a rotation of things I use for bookmarks, and one of them is a recycled piece of mailing cardboard I write good quotes on. I started Judy Blume's latest with that bookmark, thinking this powerhouse would surely give me some good words to copy. I was wrong.I thought this was terrible. There's too much telling and not enough showing, and I think her editor must have just passed this through to the printers without a close look at sentence structure and style. I expect more from Judy Blume than typos and cliches. I was never afraid or concerned or even all that interested in the tragedies the novel centers on, and I'm really looking forward to returning this to the library later today. Summer Sisters makes it to my staff picks shelf every so often-- this one will not.

  • Allison
    2018-10-03 09:02

    I love Judy Blume, and I was really excited about her new adult novel. I love her young adult books, but Summer Sisters has been a book I’ve re-read for many years and always enjoyed it. I was hoping this book would be another I could re-read often. Instead, it fell flat. It was hard to get through. The story had so much promise - three unexplained plane crashes in one town within a sixty day span! What was causing the crashes? How was the town reacting and coping? But the book was mainly about the personal lives of several major characters. Usually this is what I love about Blume’s writing - the insight into people’s lives; but when there is something so much more interesting to be explored, and it isn’t, people’s lives seem pretty boring in comparison. Since Blume lived through these crashes herself, I would have thought there would be more emotion in the story, but everything was kept at a distance. There were too many characters sharing their points of view, and it was hard to keep them, and their relationships with other characters, straight. Ruby and Rusty were easily confused for the first bit of the book, as well as Christine and Corinne. If you’re making up names, it’d be just as easy to give every character distinct names so it’s easier to tell them apart. Also, some of the major players didn’t have their own narration until two-thirds of the way through the book. Overall, it felt hastily thrown together, despite the fact that it’s been in the works since 2009. The framework of “35 years later” also fell flat for me, and didn’t add anything to the story other than wrapping up everyone’s storyline. Once I started it, I had to finish to see if something interesting happened because of the plane crashes, but once I finished it, I felt like I wasted a lot of time on 400 pages of nothing.

  • Amanda
    2018-09-20 14:51

    Judy Blume is back! I was very excited to receive an advance copy of this book and couldn't wait to dive in. The book is fiction but it's based on 3 real plane crashes that happened in Elizabeth,NJ in the 1950's. There are a lot of narrators in this book and by a lot I mean at least 20. At first I found that really distracting and confusing but as the novel moves forward and you make the connections ( I had to draw a chart) it works really well. My favorite character was Miri, a local 9th grader who is trying to navigate her teenage years, boys, a single mom, a famous reporter uncle, a best friend that has become weird and several other life issues. The novel is engaging and heartfelt. A definite win for Ms. Blume. ARC from publisher

  • Samantha Price
    2018-09-27 13:42

    When Judy Blume was a child, three planes crashed in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey within three months of each other. At 77 years old, she wrote a fantastic novel: true to the era and completely capturing me from the beginning! She describes how that time in her life has always haunted her, to the point where she finally chose to do more research and it became the plot for her new book. The story is told by multiple characters, and they all become inter-connected through the crashes. My favorite part of these books is how interesting and true Judy was to the 50's. I felt like I was transported back to her time with all of the little details she included. I enjoyed all the characters and their developments. The ending ties up nicely. This book comes out on June 2nd. We all have read other classics by Judy Blume and this one measures up. Read this book!

  • Margitte
    2018-10-02 16:07

    Three planes crash over a period of 58 days over the town, Elizabeth, NJ, during a terrible winter of 1951 and 1952. It forms the historical background of this novel. Several aspects of the era are used to build the scenarios around the different people in the book, which makes it interesting reading. However, several families are introduced with several of them becoming protagonists in the story, which really became a challenge.The author is an excellent storyteller. I just couldn't keep up the endless parading of so many characters and stories into one plot. The book never built up steam. There was no riveting moments. Everything was downplayed in a way, although the realism was refreshing. Strong family bonds, strict religious believes, and social fusion of collective interests and dreams, create a warm environment around the tragedies and good things that happened. In the end it is all about money and prestige. And that's where the big yawn got me.Just too many detail. That's all. I am giving it three stars for the detailed descriptions of the people's lives, the historical events and the entertaining value of sharing so many stories of a community. This is not about one person, it is about a community and what happened to them, through three generations, after the fatal plane crashes.However, you do have to be patient to finish this book.

  • Carol Brill
    2018-09-26 13:58

    There are parts of this story I rate 4+ and parts that for me are a 3. This is primarily Miri's story and that narrative is what I found most interesting. Miri is a teen being brought up in a very loving, supportive family--her single mother, Rusty, her grandmother, Irene whose house they live in, and her Uncle Henry. The story opens in 1987 when Miri is trying to decide if she should board a plane to return to her hometown, Elizabeth NJ. Thirty-five years earlier when she was a teen, a series of unexplained and tragic plane crashes in Elizabeth, changed Miri's and everyone's life. When the story is about Miri and her family and friends and her first love, Mason, I found it wonderfully engaging. At times, that story is over-laid with what feels like short stories or character sketches. These are about the people most effected by the plane crashed. Those overlays often took me out of the primary story and involved so many characters, it was hard to keep them straight. For at least the first 100-150 pages, I felt lost much of the time. The second half of the book had fewer of these sub-narratives and flowed much better for me.

  • Madeline
    2018-09-29 13:09

    I almost wanted to shelve this book under "historic fiction" because, technically, it qualifies: In the Unlikely Event is a fictionalized telling of real events that happened in 1951-52 in the small town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, when planes flying out of Newark Airport mysteriously experienced mechanical failures and crashed. But the plane crashes, ultimately, are only the backdrop for this story. Judy Blume is doing something very clever where she uses the plane crashes to draw the reader in, and they play a part in some of the emotional revelations of the characters, but this novel is character-driven, not plot-driven. And holy god, there are a lot of characters to follow. I would guess that it took me a good eighty pages before I felt like I had a good handle on who everyone was, and even then, I would have to flip back and remind myself how everyone was related. The cast of characters isn't quite Russian-novel-level sprawling, but it's pretty close. The closest thing we have to a protagonist is Miri Ammerman, who's fifteen during the time of the plane crashes, and we also see a few scenes of her as an adult, returning to her hometown in 1987. Then we have Miri's mother, her uncle, her grandma, her grandma's boyfriend, Miri's best friend, her dad, her mom, Miri's boyfriend, his brother, his brother's girlfriend...like I said, there are a lot of characters to keep track of. And on top of that, Judy Blume gives every character their own POV sections, and doesn't confine them to a chapter each - we get multiple POV switches in every chapter. In light of this, it makes sense that this is, at its core, just a story of a community of people reacting to what happens around them. One of the best aspects of this book is seeing how the actions and decisions of one person can have a massive ripple affect that spreads to every other character in the story, and changes the trajectory of their own plots. And the plane crashes are very, very well done - legitimately terrifying, and Blume is able to portray the terror and the carnage in an accurate, emotional way that never feels gratuitous or done merely for shock value. I knew going into this book that it was based on actual events; what I didn't know until I got to the author's note at the end was that Judy Blume actually grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and that the plane crashes happened when she was an adolescent. I always like reading those books that authors have struggled for years to find a way to tell, and it's obvious that the plane crashes have never been far from Judy Blume's mind. I'm glad that she finally found a way to tell the story of those events and how they felt, and I think the way she chose to tell it worked out well.

  • Jaksen
    2018-10-11 10:52

    Gonna be honest, not very impressed.First of all, Blume is a very simple, to-the-point, few-bells-and-whistles writer. She says it; she doesn't dissect it too much, and she moves on. There are pages of dialogue where people simply talk back and forth, back and forth without any dialogue tags, and you have no idea what they're doing. Other than talking, that is. A lot of sections are as simple as: She ate the cake. He had cake, too. Then they went to the movies.I found it monotonous and the only reason I kept going was I did want to know what happened to Miri, one of the many main characters, who are caught up in the events of the early 1950's in Elizabeth, NJ. Over a brief time period three horrific plane crashes occur in this area, with many of the local inhabitants either victims - in the air or on the ground - or witnesses to what happened. Blume has corralled a large group of characters and moves swiftly from one to the other as they talk about their daily lives, their interactions with other characters, their take on current events (especially local) and how they cope with the tragedies happening in their midst. It's a compelling read at times; but at others it is so occupied with daily minutiae that it gets boring. It's only the characters of Miri, her friend Natalie, and their families which kept me reading. There is no great arc here; no climactic moment, simply a tale of people and endurance, and the everyday vagaries of everyday lives.My daughter won this book, not sure of what contest but it wasn't Goodreads.

  • Brian
    2018-10-17 10:41

    Judy Blume has kept rather quiet in the last couple of years. So I was delighted when my colleague gave me the galley of this book. The book is extremely morbid and there were a lot of things I liked, but a few things I didn't. The premise is that a small town in New Jersey deals with a bunch of plane crashes that happen very close together. The book focuses on a bunch of people who are affected by the plane crash. The book has a lot of little chapters, and each one focuses on different characters, some who repeat, some who are one offs. At first this was extremely disconcerting and I had trouble keeping track of who was who. After the book went on, it became a bit easier, but even by the end, the book was a tad confusing. I liked a lot of the characters, in particular the very interesting Natalie. The thing that I enjoyed the most about this book was that it just felt so Judy Blume, if that makes any sense.

  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    2018-10-09 11:10

    As a young girl, I devoured everything written by Judy Blume, from Superfudge to Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Forever as well as her adult novels Smart Women, Wifey, despite the fact I wasn't yet even a teenager. I remember being excited when her third adult novel, Summer Sisters, was published in 1988 and seventeen years later we finally have a fourth and, Judy Blume herself confesses, her last, In the Unlikely Event.While the tone and style of Blume's writing remains remarkably familiar, the subject of this novel is quite different from what some may expect. Inspired by a series of passenger airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey within a three-month period in 1951–1952, the author brings to life three generations of families, friends, and strangers, who are all profoundly affected by these events, either directly or indirectly.While Blume employs multiple points of view in the narrative it is teenager Miri Ammerman who has the strongest voice. Against the background of such frightening community tragedy, Miri struggles with the typical trials of adolescence, such as identity, friendship, family and first love. Meanwhile her Uncle Henry makes his name as the journalist who covers the incidents, her best friend, Natalie, is haunted by a plane crash victim, and an elderly man mourning his wife beds down on her grandmother's couch. The large cast may be off-putting to some readers but I felt the the varied perspectives enriched the narrative.Blume successfully brings to life the facts surrounding the New Jersey plane crashes, honouring the real life victims of the tragedies. She authentically evokes the era that heralded social change in America, exploring issues such as changing morality and political unrest.Written with genuine compassion and insight, and with finely drawn characterisation, In the Unlikely Event is an engaging story of life's ordinary and extraordinary events.

  • South Buncombe Library
    2018-10-08 07:52

    1 star. Instead of writing a review, I'm just going to paste the text from an email I sent to my mother this morning and call it a day:Absolutely do not waste your time on Judy Blume's latest. It's the worst-- think The Boston Girl meets plane tragedies with a whole lot of boring yuck thrown in.-Sarah

  • Matthew
    2018-09-28 14:46

    Maybe 4.5 stars - some pretty good historical fiction here. This wasn't just a run of the mill story about growing up in the 50s. There was a lot of love, tragedy, insanity, heartache, infidelity, intolerance, etc. Blume kept me guessing and I was frequently shocked/surprised throughout.

  • Judy
    2018-09-21 13:55

    In honor of Judy Blume's birthday yesterday, I am posting the review for her last novel. I reviewed it for the now discontinued literary site, Three Guys One Book, but didn't post it here. So here it is:All my life, I’ve had all kinds of friends, many of whom would never get along with each other. One of the best things about being a voracious reader is being able to hang out while reading with so many different kinds of writers: highly literary writers, mystery, thriller, science fiction, and fantasy writers. Those who write lovely sentences, those who help me understand life, those who keep me up all night by the power of their stories, those who make me laugh out loud, and so many more. Every one of them brings me something I need, just like my different friends.Then there is Judy Blume, who possibly could be friends with anyone. I came to her late because while she was publishing her novels for young readers and teens, I was already an adult reader. My first Judy Blume book was Summer Sisters in which I learned that I was not alone as far as what goes on between girlfriends in their teens and how we drift apart. Then one day I got completely blocked as a writer when it came to writing about sex in the early days of puberty. I read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Deenie. I was saved.In this latest and sadly last novel, she brings it all together. Miri Ammerman is a 15-year-old fatherless girl. Of course she has a father somewhere but she has never met him and her mother Rusty keeps it all a mystery from her. It is December, 1951 and the first of three planes to crash over Elizabeth, NJ, comes down in a ball of fire landing upside down in the Elizabeth River and killing all passengers and crew. Miri is traumatized but not as badly as her best friend Natalie who comes to believe that a young dancer named Ruby, killed in the crash, now inhabits her mind and body.By the time the third plane in less than five months crashes over Elizabeth, Miri has met her father, has fallen in love with an orphan teen, and Natalie has landed in a home for girls with eating disorders. Even then, secrets are still being revealed about her father, her mother, Natalie and her family, as well as her boyfriend. One might think this story contains an overabundance of incident for one year in the life of a teenage girl, but these plane crashes actually happened that year in Elizabeth, NJ, where Judy Blume grew up. And though a year sometimes seemed boring beyond belief for me as a teen, when I look back it is astounding how many changes I went through per year of high school.I also grew up in New Jersey in what was then a relatively small town, so I am sure Judy Blume got it right as she traced the numerous and varied connections between the people in this story. It made me think about how rich life is; how family issues and events in the work life of adults and the twelve years of school between first grade and high school graduation contain so much love, heartbreak, and growth for all concerned.The novel begins with Miri taking a flight back to New Jersey 35 years after the crashes and ends with her making the journey back to her adult life in Las Vegas. Between those bookends is the story of Miri and her teen years. She became a journalist just like her beloved Uncle. She has the complex problems of any middle-aged married woman with kids. Her first love lives in her memory as the best love ever and her life as a teen, despite all the emotional upheaval, carries the wonder and the weight that made her who she is.If this is really Ms Blume’s last hurrah as a novelist she is leaving us with a story, told without fuss or trickery as though she were sitting right there with you. It is the story of an American woman. I think it is worthy of a Pulitzer.

  • Duane
    2018-10-20 15:09

    I've read Judy Blume books before, this is my 5th, so I knew what to expect. She is best known for her children's novels, especially for her classic Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. But it's been 17 years since she wrote her last adult novel, so her fans were duly excited when she published In the Unlikely Event.This book was based on events from her childhood, the tragic crashes of three passenger planes in Elizabeth New Jersey, all within a three month period. An inconceivable and staggering coincidence that had this community in constant fear of the planes taking off and landing at adjacent Newark airport. Judy Blume was one of those people, a 13 year old 8th grader. And after 64 years she has decided to tell her story, and the story of the other residents, how it affected them individually and collectively. The story was structured perfectly, told from point of view of several people. The character development was excellent and the reader has the sense of, not just the effect of the plane crashes, but also life in 1951 New Jersey. The novel ends with a 35 year look into the future, a nice and satisfying touch.

  • Jan Rice
    2018-09-25 16:06

    In the unlikely event...she hears the flight attendant saying in her head. Life is a series of unlikely events, isn't it? Hers certainly is. One unlikely event after another, adding up to a rich, complicated whole. And who knows what's still to come?I didn't really know who Judy Blume was, other than some vague memory of my daughter reading her as an adolescent, and for some reason that made me think the author would be younger than I am. I read the excited stories in the media that this would be her first novel for adults in 17 years. It was going to be set in the '50, when I grew up. I looked Blume up, and surprisingly she's older, not younger. I checked out her other titles.So, I had already gotten myself excited about this book before I laid hands on it. I was ready. Even though it was a long one, I was geared up for the plunge. What hit me right away was the 1950s. Unlike the author, I didn't grow up in New Jersey, where this novel is set, and where almost everyone is either a Jew or a Catholic. Instead, I grew up in the bible belt, where almost everybody else was a Protestant. That turned out to be little more than background detail. I opened the book and the 1950s hit me. An era can feel like home, and when the era of one's younger days has passed, there's some sense of exile. I didn't migrate to another country, but the world has shifted. Not that I was missing the '50s. You don't miss the '50s. But these pages exude essence of '50s.Another reviewer wrote that this is a coming-of-age story. That's true; it is. This time, though, coming of age brings more than sexual awakening. Along with care and nurture come the unbalancing clay feet of those who are supposed to know what to do and how to live. Still more than that, it's the coming of age for all ages, or, maybe, the moment of truth, under the shock and awe of trauma. Under the heat of events, love blooms, and some relationships are forever changed. Those events are like shrapnel that, even without war or terrorism, tear into the fabric of everyday existence in this one town, introducing the uncertainties that half a century later would have a wider impact when, once again, planes became instruments of urban destruction. This is the '50s but under duress and with a sense of things to come.The body of the novel is written in epistolary-like fashion, but without actual letters; the heading is the character whose consciousness we're with at the moment. That didn't bother me, as in fact I just finished reading an epistolary novel. It's not experimental at all; just a good way to introduce the fairly sizable cast of characters, such as meeting your friend's family and learning who they all are. I had to check back a few times but that was easily accomplished. The only point at which the technique did worry me was when, later in the novel, one new character was introduced: under the circumstances that foretold her fate.The novel was reasonably long, but any intimidation on that score was forgotten the further I got into the book and the longer it exerted its pull.The summer of 1957 when I was 12, I met for the first time a distant cousin of about my age, and then I got to spend a week or so with her and her family in Cleveland. I drove up with them, but for the trip back home I was put on a flight. There were thunderstorms, and we circled for 45 minutes in one of those old prop planes before we could land. Reading about the unlikely events of this book, I remembered that.

  • Ashley
    2018-10-17 09:07

    Like most children born in the 1970s and 1980s (and I hope, the 1990s), Judy Blume books made frequent and prolonged appearances in my household. My personal favorites were always the Fudge books. I was (and still am) a lover of scatological and body humor, so Fudge eating his brother Peter’s turtle always appealed to me on a base level. And of course, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was there to ease me into puberty and ask all the awkward questions.I never got around to reading her adult stuff, or even that classic of teenage sexuality and banned bookdom, Forever, but when I heard that she was releasing a new adult novel, I was immediately in without evening knowing the premise, which turned out to be tantalizing. Allow me to have a Sophia Petrillo moment here. Picture it: Elizabeth, New Jersey, 1951. A series of airplanes fall from the sky over a period of about six months, traumatizing the small town and its residents.What’s really interesting about this premise is that it’s based on true events, and what’s more, true events that actually happened to Judy Blume. She lived in Elizabeth during the year the planes fell from the sky, and one can surmise by reading this book that it’s something she’s never really stopped thinking about since.The majority of the book takes place in 1951 and 1952, following a medium sized cast of characters. Objectively, the main character is Miri Ammerman, a fifteen year old Jewish girl who is quite happy with her life. She has a best friend, a surrogate family to go with, she loves her school, and even though she’s never met her father, she loves her beautiful mother and her uncle and grandmother, who all live together. She’s even got a new boyfriend. And then the planes start to crash, and everything begins to fall apart. I say that objectively Miri is the main character, because the frame narrative–which takes place thirty-five years later is told from her perspective, and because of the characters in 1951-52 she’s the one we spend the most time with–but there are also about ten to fifteen other characters who get POV sections, including some victims of the downed planes.This is actually one of the things about the book that didn’t really work for me. Blume often switches the POVs after a relatively short time with each character, so I didn’t have very much of a chance to get comfortable in any of their voices. It’s also very disorienting at first as you struggle to figure out who’s who in a world where a lot of people have very similar names (it was the 1950s and everybody was named Fred or Henry or whatever).The writing was really engaging, and there were parts of the novel that were completely unputdownable. I think Blume really nailed the sections to do with the crashing of the planes, both during the events themselves, and having to do with the trauma that affects the characters. It affects them all in different ways and changes the way they act and think about the world. I also really liked that it was essentially historical fiction. The whole vibe of the 1950s with its post-war paranoia and burgeoning domestic idealism/hypocrisy was very, very present. She also gets the dynamics between people very right, whether its new or old romance, female friendships, or the love between parents and children.But the whole thing just felt too spread out for me. It never coalesced into a whole story, and I couldn’t figure out what the larger point of it was, and I felt that she was trying to make one. I could probably make some educated guesses, but nothing ever clicked for me. I never felt this book on a deeper emotional level than surface entertainment. Which makes me sad.This book is definitely worth a read, especially if you’re a Judy Blume fan. But mostly it made me want to read her entire back catalogue. Which I might actually do now . . .[3.5 stars]

  • Suzanne
    2018-09-26 15:06

    I have been reading Judy Blume since I was a teenager, and love her adult fiction! This is the first book of hers to come out in awhile and I could not wait to read it! I was not disappointed. She writes a riveting tail based on true life events surrounding three tragic plane crashes in Elizabeth, NJ in the early 1950s. It is hard to remember at times that the story is fictional, based on the personality and depth that she gives to each of her characters. You can feel the heartache and fear from the loss...I also love how she looks at family dynamics during that time period - the life of a single mother and daughter; a family that seems to be on solid footing, but cracking beneath the surface; an orphaned teenager who depends on an older brother; and, a first generation family whose old-world values persist...it is a dynamic book that I found hard to put down!

  • Jesse
    2018-09-26 10:44

    Way too many points of view. The book kept jumping from person to person and it was hard to get invested.

  • Licha
    2018-10-01 14:05

    I was so happy when I saw that Judy Blume had written another book and a little bit scared because it was one of her adult books. I haven’t liked her adult books as much as I have loved her teen books. I practically grew up on them. Judy is who made me love books with a passion. I already loved reading but when I first discovered her when my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Goethe read us Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, I was hooked. I had to read this book for myself. I had never laughed my head off so hard with a book. All of a sudden I started to discover other Judy books that seemed a little bit taboo, books I thought I’d get in trouble reading, but that were so open and frank and spoke to my eleven-twelve year old self. Judy was like the big sister who told you all about boys, periods, two minutes in the closet, etc., etc., everything your mom was probably not going to discuss with you. Not that I would have wanted to anyway, so Judy was my everything during that stage of my life.As I got older and read the more adult books, meh, they didn’t really fascinate me as much. But still, a Judy Blume book was enough for me to start dancing around the room for when I first heard she had written another book. I must say I was hooked from the start of this book. I usually try not to read reviews before finishing a book unless it’s boring me, just so that I can feel that it’s not just me who is struggling with a book. With Judy’s book though, I was simply curious to see what others had to say about her book and I was a little surprised to see that a lot of readers were finding this to be an average read and struggling with the amount of characters in the book. Okay, fair enough, I won’t allow that to play into my enjoyment of the book.I want to say that the story is really about nothing, but that’s not quite accurate. There are a LOT of characters in this book and the story is told through the many perspectives of these characters, some more than others. The town of Elizabeth, NJ is struck by the tragedy of three airplane crashes, three, within a matter of 2 months, all near children’s schools or sites where children were in attendance. These incidents are the foundation for what happens in the lives of the many people that lived to see these events unfold before their very eyes. I loved getting to know these characters, their feelings and fears, how the plane crashes affected them. I wanted to jump right into the book and be a part of it all. The beauty of this book for me was getting to know the characters. Judy also does a great job of bringing the era of the 50’s alive. I think I may have to go back and reread some of her adult books and give them another chance. I also want to say thank you to Judy for meaning so much to me as I was growing up, even making me want to be a writer one day (which didn’t happen, but she was still an inspiration to me). This book brought back all those feelings to me and forever she will be much more than just one of my favorite authors.P.S. The one thing I did hate was that cover. It is just not catchy enough to make me want to pick this up if I saw it in the store or on a shelf. It's selling factor is definitely the name Judy Blume on its cover.

  • Erin
    2018-09-22 15:56

    In the winter of 1951-1952 three plane crashes occurred in Elizabeth, NJ, all due to its proximity to the busy Newark air terminal. An eighth grade student named Judy Blume was a resident of Elizabeth during that time and she's used those real crashes as a base for this imaginative tale of daily life in the New Jersey of the early 1950, with its delicate balance between Jews and Christians ("coloreds" receive barely a mention and even Greeks are seen as "others"), its slowly changing morality and the stress of living under the shadow of McCarthyism and the Korean War. The story is artfully written in alternating points of view (the story is about the entire town, but rarely was I confused, and when I did lose track of a character mentioned only a few times, thank goodness for Kindle's x-ray function), but is primarily the story of the Ammerman family, teenage Miri, single mother Rusty and her brother Henry who is the a new staff writer for the Elizabeth Daily Journal and is almost immediately thrust into the story of his career. Their sections, along with those of many other townspeople and victims of the crashes are interspersed with Henry's newspaper stories, both about the crashes, the various responses and a few news stories of the day and serve to give a fairly representative picture of both the town and the time. I found the book fairly delightful - a more cuddlyPeyton Place if you will. Naturally, I'm of the age where nearly any Judy Blume book is cause for celebration, but I honestly can't say I've generally been a fan of her attempts at adult fiction - I'm so happy to say that this is a book I thoroughly enjoyed, and if it's not the Great American Novel, neither does it aspire to be....it's a perfect beach read.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-10-04 08:08

    I got to POV #13 or 14 and just decided to stop. i am a restless reader of late it seems.

  • Judy Collins
    2018-10-10 10:06

    Judy Blumereturns with her adult novel IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT, as we revisit the fifties, with an event which changes the course of lives. If you are from this era, you will appreciate some of conversations in the heart-warming novel. At its novel's centeris a real-life event occurring in Blume’s hometown of Elizabeth, NJ in the early 1950s, when three planes fell from the sky over a three month period. Readers hear from a variety of characters, whose stories span generations, as each person tells a story, an experience, all affected by this experience. Bridging the gap from young to old. In the Unlikely Event is more of a coming-of age story, as Blume focuses a young girl who is fifteen years old. Miri is the daughter of a single mother and along with her mother, stays with her uncle and grandmother under the same roof. It was a little confusinglistening to the audio with so many characters. Each, coping in different ways. During this time the characters experience grief, and of course life as it has to go on from friendship, insecurities, dreams, divorce, careers, estranged parents, and first loves.A compelling read,of life changing events, stories, and secrets. For generations, Judy Blume has told stories, and a nice tribute for all the generations of readers and listeners. A solid adult novel full of depth and humanity. I listened to the audiobook, and as always, Kathleen McInerney delivers a pleasant performance.JDCMustReadBooks

  • Melissa
    2018-09-28 11:55

    This came across more as a love letter to the 1950’s or a homage to the plane crash victims, than a story with an actual plot. I had no idea going in that this was based somewhat on facts. There were actually three plane crashes, in the span of a few months, that took place in Judy Blume’s hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Blume explores how everyone, not literally but that’s what it felt like at times with the alternating perspectives, in the town copes in the aftermath. I listened to the audio version and it was so confusing, especially in the beginning. The perspective changed so many times, I felt like I needed to write myself a cheat sheet just to keep everyone straight. Forget about feeling invested in the story. It was impossible with the amount of characters she threw at me. She overwhelmed me with the monotonous details, too - the movie stars, the clothing, the brands and just things I didn’t care about. It didn’t add anything to the story, but words.If you can’t tell by now, I wasn’t a big fan. And I have to mention the sex scenes - awkward. I get it, she was known for being taboo back in the day, but now with contemporary romance and erotic fiction being so mainstream, these scenes made me cringe. They were so clinical and uncomfortable. Maybe that was her intention?

  • Darlene
    2018-10-07 08:52

    In a 58-day period, from December 1951 to February 1952, there were three aviation disasters in the town of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Judy Blume, the author of this novel 'In the Unlikely Event', grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey and was a teenager at the time of the crashes. These airline crashes and how they affected her New Jersey community has stayed with her all of these years and inspired her to write this book. Although the plane crashes described in the story are factual, the characters and families who comprise this story are not. The story begins in 1987, thirty-five years after the crashes. The main character, Miri Ammerman, who had been 15 years old at the time of the disasters is preparing to board a plane from her home in Nevada back to New Jersey to attend a commemoration of the events of 1951/52. Even though Miri and her family (mother Rusty, grandmother Irene and uncle Henry) are the anchors of this story, other details and background are filled in by numerous other residents of the town. This really is a sweeping saga.. we are introduced and come to know a number of the Elizabeth residents. We learn about what their lives are like and how these plane disasters affected them… on a personal level and as a community. I need to point out, however, that if you are interested in more than the basic facts of these airline disasters, you won't find the answers you seek in this novel. The plane crashes simply provide a backdrop against which the lives of these Elizabeth residents play out. The most appealing aspect of this novel, to me, was the look at small town life in the early 1950s. Judy Blume set the scene in such a way that I felt transported back in time to the 1950s. Although I wasn't actually born for more than another decade after this story takes place, there were aspects of the characters' lives to which I could really relate. Ms. Blume describes a typical Friday night for teenagers… basement or YMCA dances….. falling in love to the dulcet tones of Nat King Cole. She paints a vivid picture of the politics and social climate of the early 1950s as well… the United States mired in yet another war in Korea; Joseph McCarthy had begun his communist witch hunt and everyone seemed anxious and afraid of the possibility of an atomic bomb drop. Anxiety and conspiracy theories were rampant. On a societal level, I found a number of things fascinating…. that even married women needed their husbands' approval to obtain birth control from their doctors. And I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at how much societal and family pressure was exercised on young women and men to marry their own "kind'… within their tribe, so to speak. In this story, Miri Ammerman belonged to the Jewish faith and it was simply understood that her husband would ultimately be Jewish. Another character, Christina, was of Greek heritage and her parents had indeed already chosen the man they wished her to marry.. also from a Greek family. Of course, the story also demonstrated that young women were beginning to push back against their parents' beliefs and demands. I listened to the audiobook version of this book and it was wonderfully narrated by Kathleen McInerney…. her narration kept me transfixed throughout. There is just something about this type of story which appeals to me.. a story that allows me a peak into the REAL lives of people to see who they REALLY are when they aren't wearing the perfect and respectable masks they present to the community… who and what they are when nobody is looking. I suppose a story like this one satisfies my voyeuristic, curious (nosy) tendencies; however, I have to say that as much as I was enthralled by this book, the Judy Blume who wrote THIS novel just can't seem to compete with the Judy Blume who penned the novels I loved so much in my youth. Perhaps it's simply nostalgia but this novel cannot replace or even replicate that little forbidden thrill I got from furtively passing around among my friends her novel. 'Forever'… reading the 'good' parts and trying not to get caught. If you don't have such an emotional attachment to Judy Blume's books for young adults, then I dare say you just might love this story.

  • Barbara
    2018-10-05 09:53

    3.5 stars Though this book is publicized as a Judy Blume book for adults it feels more like a YA book to me. The story is set in 1950s Elizabeth, New Jersey, and follows a number of people who are profoundly affected by three local plane crashes that occur within three months, killing passengers as well as people on the ground. The book is told from the rotating points of view of several characters but centers around 15-year-old Miri Ammerman, a Jewish girl who lives in a loving, nurturing home with her mom Rusty, grandmother Irene, and uncle Henry. Miri knows nothing about her father, whom Rusty refuses to discuss. Uncle Henry is a journalist whose career is kicked into high gear by the articles he writes about the plane crashes – a sad reminder that some people’s bad luck is other people’s good luck. Miri spends a lot of time at the home of best friend Natalie Osner. Natalie, who aspires to be a dancer, comes from a wealthy home with a dentist dad and a southern belle mom. Miri is envious that Natalie has two parents and daydreams about ways she and Natalie could be ‘sisters’. After the first plane crash Natalie becomes obsessed with Ruby, a young dancer who was killed, and acts out in disturbing ways. The crashes deeply affect other Elizabeth residents as well: a middle-age-man becomes a widower and looks to grandma Irene for comfort; Natalie Osner’s brother loses the girl he’s just fallen for, and his life plans go awry; the Osner’s housekeeper loses her son and is devastated; and so on. Trying to make sense of the plane crashes, people come up with wild speculations about what caused them, including sabotage, space aliens, and communists. In the midst of the unrest Miri’s dad enters the picture, which upsets the Ammerman family. Miri also starts dating Mason McKittrick, a sensitive teen who lives in an orphan home. Mason has a disturbing family history and a secret that he hopes to hide. There’s an obstacle to Miri’s romance though – Mason isn’t Jewish, which is a problem for her family. Another young couple has a similar difficulty. Christina, a high school senior who works in the dental office of Dr. Osner, is in love with Mason’s brother Jack McKittrick – though her parents expect her to marry a Greek boy. As the story unfolds the adolescents and adults in the story seem to realize that life can be fleeting and their subsequent thoughts and actions lead to hook-ups, break-ups, friendships formed, friendships broken, changes within families, and so on. The characters in the story are compelling and believable and - for the most part - sympathetic and likable. The book is well-written and held my interest and I’d recommend it.You can follow my reviews at http://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com/