Saturday, July 11, 2015

Book Review: In the Unlikely Event

I expected great things from this Judy Blume book, In the Unlikely Event. After all, Judy Blume! My opinion is that it was true to her writing style, but not as good a read as I had anticipated. My biggest issue was with the extensive cast of characters. It took a good 150 pages to get to the point in the novel where I had a grasp on which characters were important and which were incidental.

The story revolves around 15 year old Miri Ammerman. It is the winter of 1951-52 and Elizabeth, New Jersey, experiences three plane crashes within the space of two months. While the crashes are factual (Blume lived in Elizabeth and was a junior high student at the time), the characters are fictional. Miri is exploring a new relationship with a boy named Mason. She is living with her single mother and worried about her best friend, Natalie (who believes that one of the dead passengers is now living inside of her).

As I intimated, the cast of characters is extensive and often difficult to keep a handle on. It is somewhat like viewing a kaleidoscope (an image used in the novel) where different colorful bits and pieces flash into different patterns to reveal visually stunning images. The glimpses are brief and hard to follow at times. The end result creates a whole picture, but the process of getting to the final picture is a fragmented journey. I think it was the fragmented nature I struggled with most.  While I don't regret continuing with the novel (despite several moments where I was sorely tempted to cast it aside), it still wasn't as satisfying as I had anticipated and not one of my favorite Judy Blume reads.

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