Difference between revisions of "In the Unlikely Event"

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Latest revision as of 13:11, 15 January 2020

US hardcover, first edition.

In the Unlikely Event is a novel by Judy Blume published on 2015-06-02 and one of Blume's few adult novels. The book is set in the early 1950s shortly after the Korean War and follows several characters as they try to cope with their alreasy tumultuous lives being turned upside-down with a series of horrifying plane crashes occurring in their town. Although the book is fiction, it is based on an actual series of plane crashes that took place in Blume's hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey with the title coming from a common airplane safety speech, "in the unlikely event of a crash..."

After my daughters were born, I began re-reading a lot of children's books to find out which ones would be best to recommend to them. Having read several of Judy Blume's books while growing up, I began looking through her catalog. I vaguely remembered that she sparked controversy with Summer Sisters, and I saw this book was quite popular even three years after being published. After a few years of reading fiction primarily written by male authors—and finding a lot of it pretty awful—I sought out fiction by female authors which led me to this book. I'm glad I did this, because I really enjoyed the story. I finishing an audio book on 2018-10-20.

Status

I do not own this book, but I have listened to an audio book.

Review

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The book is expertly written. All of the characters are interesting and overcome problems and show growth.
  • The book has several strong female characters, which is always refreshing in fiction.
  • Blume does a good job describing scenes of romance and sex. She makes them exciting without becoming too vulgar.
  • By changing the narrators, it allows you to see how both the younger and older generations react to similar events. The children, itching to experience everything new, the parents, with the scars of wisdom keeping them subdued.
  • Blume doesn't shy away from the overt bigotry of the era. The parents in the book are adverse to seeing their children marrying outside their nationalities and religions, regardless of how good of a person their paramour is; companies aren't just allowed to, but flagrantly deny employment based on race, sex, age, weight, and marital status; men are disgustingly offensive to women, believing it to be for their own good.
  • Blume also makes it clear that the 1950s weren't like Leave It to Beaver. In addition to all the bigotry, people were cheating on their spouses, teens were having sex before marriage, and, ignorant of the process, frequently getting pregnant; diseases that are no longer an issue were still running rampant; and there were biological problems that couldn't yet be solved or even treated.

Bad

  • Despite being well-written, the story is quite depressing. I do like the fact that it has a happy ending though.
  • The story is told from the perspective of over a dozen characters and jumps between them frequently. It was confusing for me at first to accurately picture whose head I was in, and I almost gave up on the book, but, after the characters became more real to me, I kind of liked being able to see the story from so many different angles.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

Media

I pretty much hate all of these covers. They're so tame for such an emotional book, and a couple of them don't give even the slightest idea of what the book is about.

Quotes

  • "Be careful," Irene warned Miri. "All boys want the same thing." "So do girls," Miri thought.
  • Eleanor Gordon was the most sophisticated in their crowd. She read The New Yorker.
  • "Anything could go wrong any day of the week. What's the point of worrying in advance?" "How do you stop yourself from worrying?" "I think of all the good things in my life." "What about the bad things?" "There's no room for them inside my head. Not anymore. Now I say live and let live, and I kick those other thoughts away. You can do that, too."
  • And now she was going. She was going to walk up the steps leading to the silver bird that would gobble her up, holding her in its belly until it reached its faraway destination, where it would spit her out. In one piece, she hoped.

Links

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