Publication: June 2, 2015, by Knopf
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary
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 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.
Judy Blume is one of the most masterful writers out there, literally. Since I was in the third grade, I've been reading and devouring her novels, crying, bawling and wanting more each time. I've almost actually read all of her books, and as I made my way towards the first adult novel of hers from my view, I was very much excited, but nervous at the same time. It's always awkward to start off a new genre with an author who you've read YA from! At least, that's what I always have believed...
In the Unlikely Event was pretty great because of the fact that it's based on real, true events that occurred in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey. The funny thing is that I've actually been (and stayed) in Elizabeth after heading to New York this year, and reading about the horrible events that ruined the lives of many and their families is just heartbreaking since I can picture Newark Airport, and the amount of flights coming in and out from the safest airport in America. If you have experience with some kind of situation in a novel, then you're thousands of times more likely to feel the pain and feels more.
This actually turned out to be one of those cheesy adult stories. I've been there, done that, and feel that the concept and what it held was so disappointing. Contemporaries are usually my kind of thing, and reading about the reenactment of a historical event that actually hit the lives of many people usually interests me. And what was this about? Different perspectives of the events of the plane crashes that were trying to get to Newark but ended up crashing within each other in an area. This features many different characters who are all, in one way or another, impacted continuously by this. And when one occurred, you don't expect anything else to happen but just loss and tragedy, though it kept occurring and my mind literally blew.
I saw the plot to actually be pretty adult-like in the matter of nothing cute occurring. Y'all know what I mean? Blume focuses on what readers will feel, which is excellent, but the depth of the characters and information of the event(s) didn't seem to be present, and I would've loved that. Reading about plane crashes and events like this has tons of research needed to be added, and I apologize, but we don't need a memoir here. It seemed like Blume only looked at what people saw, but not the facts. If it's actually based on a true story (and she got to live it), then why hadn't there have been more facts? These characters are fictional, anyways.
Seeing why people enjoyed this is the main focus that I'd like to look upon here. It is pure realism, and I find that there was nothing that seemed too fictional or fake in this sense as well. I guess at the time of reading, I wasn't in the mood for something too sweet in the sense of character-development only, but many have enjoyed the wonders of relationships that it held. But what was the point of having more than ten different characters who are all dealing with the same issue? I guess Blume enjoys looking at different people, young and old, and telling readers their stories, since they all see life at a different perspective. I'd definitely give the characters a 5 star, but it was a little too exaggerated in that sense, too. Where was the balance? WHY CAN'T THE MESSAGE BE CRYSTAL CLEAR?
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And at the same time, this was a great novel. It's something that you're honestly going to have to find the right time for. You can't read it while you're staying on vacation (or at least I can't) or else you'll imagine planes crashing. But if you put a lot of thought into the story, it's not only about the planes crashing, it's the likelihood of something this shi*ty to occur in your life. Some characters didn't even realize what kind of huge deal this placed on their lives. Now I'm just getting too philosophical, I feel, by the way. Every reader will find something special about this novel in one way or another. Find yours, if you ever decide to give this a chance.
It's a quick read, too! Yes, it's 397 pages of a small perpendicular font and long pages, but time flew by as I read. It also was for the fact that I had to return it back to the library, but let's forget about that. It's fast-paced but slow and sweet at the same time. Everyone has been anticipating for a book like this to hit the world in this modern-day era, just saying.
This actually felt like a sunrise. You know, it's been a really long time since Blume released something, and readers, like myself, have been left in the dark, the night. We've all been anticipating this for years and years, something new to give us a different insight on life and fate, and that's the actual sunrise. Although I hadn't been so impressed and obsessed to give it a perfect rating, it was quite enjoyable and definitely recommended if you'd like something more sappy than informationally-filled. But what do you possibly expect from an author who deals with a lot of romance in all of her novels? And I must say, there's a lot of humour here as well.