“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?”
Miri Ammerman is a typical 15-year-old girl, worrying about fashion, boys and school. Life with a single mom seems quite normal with her grandma and uncle around to help. That winter in Elizabeth, N.J., in the late 1950s was the one where Miri would fall in love, find her father and see a friend deal with body image insecurities – typical teenage life. Then, planes start falling out of the sky and crashing into their town. Three planes total with very few survivors, but the scars are left on the people of the town’s souls, too.
In the Unlikely Event was the August Online Book Club book choice. I had heard a lot about Judy Blume’s new adult book when it first came out and when I found it on the sale rack at a store, I thought it would be an interesting choice for a book club. The plot line sounded interesting and it would place it in the historical fiction category that I love so much. I wondered if Judy Blume would write well for an adult read, though.
In the midst of telling how the plane crashes affected the residents of Elizabeth, Blume weaves a coming-of-age story for Miri and her friends. While I think several of the teenage love scenes could have been left out, the stories provide the reality of how life goes on despite tragedy, but is affected by it. Miri gets her heart broken, one of her friends develops and eating disorder and her mother is discovered having an affair with her friend’s married father. It’s a complicated story, but the characters come alive pretty quickly. Miri’s uncle is a reporter and his articles tie the events and chapters together throughout the book.
This book is for adults and while it is a type of historical fiction, it does still have a slight feel that the target audience is teenagers. I wish the story had been told through an adult’s eyes or at least a 17- or 18-year-old. If you do get the chance to read it, come on over to the Online Book Club when you’re done and join our discussion!
Which Judy Blume book is your favorite? Comment below!