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Monday, August 31, 2015

Reflecting on In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Well, it's still summer in the North Country. This week will see temps in the mid-80s all week and lots of that lovely humidity to go with it. Labor Day is late this year--Monday, September 7th--, and its late arrival always feels weird to me. As if it's shortening our already way-too-short autumn. Already lots of the red maples are turning color. "Stop!" I want to shout at them. "Wait until it becomes cool enough for hiking and enjoying the outdoors."

I so very much enjoyed reading In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume, an adult book she labored over for five years, from 2009-2014. A tremendous amount of research went into this novel, which, for most people, will be considered an historical novel, given that it's set in 1951-1952 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the site of three horrific airline crashes between December 1951 and April 1952.

What makes this novel especially realistic and fascinating is that Judy Blume was a young teen in Elizabeth during this time (Blume was born 12 February 1938). Her characters are rich, and as always, she is so unbelievably in tune with her teenage characters, especially the impressionable 15-year-old Mira, the character at the heart of the story. But what makes this book is that she's not the only character from whose point of view the story is told. It's also the story of her entire family, her neighbors, and her most devoted friends, who also figure prominently. I think Blume's talent of drawing readers into her world of rich characters,  coupled with the extensive research she did that made this book the creation it is. Blume is now 77 years old, which is hard to believe. She's been such a fixture in children's and young adult literature, and in her constant battle against censorship in American letters. Best wishes to her! And please, Judy, may we have another book?

3 comments:

  1. I'm right in the middle of this one and enjoying it very much. Glad u enjoyed it as well.

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  2. Diane,
    I'm so glad you think it's a good read, too. One likes company in these things! I'm coming over to visit.
    Judith

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  3. I, too, really enjoyed this one. It completely pulled me in and, yes, Mira was my favourite, too, but I loved how quietly and determinedly she made me grow attached even to the minor characters on the edges of the story. Very enjoyable all around (although that's not quite the right word, as some parts were very sad, weren't they).

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