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In the Unlikely Event Mass Market Paperback – June 27, 2017
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“Makes us feel the pure shock and wonder of living. . . . Judy Blume isn’t just revered, she’s revolutionary.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[A] page-turner, emotionally resonant and down-to-earth. . . . Reading In the Unlikely Event is like reconnecting with a long-lost friend.” —The New Yorker
“Gives us everything that Blume is known (and beloved) for. . . . This novel is her most ambitious to date, and she lives up to its reach with her characteristic frankness, compassion, and charm.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Judy Blume is back—and on her game! . . . You won’t want to turn the last page.” —People
“A page-turner with cross-generational appeal. . . . Will appeal to loyal fans as well as new readers.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A fascinating novel. . . . Blume, in clear and forthright storytelling, creates realistic characters searching for happiness. . . . Just as dramatic as the devastation and panic caused by the crashes are Blume's ruminations on the mysteries of the human heart. ” —Chicago Tribune
“Judy Blume is still here, opening our eyes to the daily astonishments of life all these years later.” —USA Today
“Quite simply, extraordinary. . . . Utterly brilliant.” —The Observer (London)
“Blume succeeds in capturing the condition of an entire community. . . . No one captures coming-of-age milestones and stomach butterflies like Blume, and those scenes are worth waiting for.” —The Boston Globe
“Judy Blume’s writing is simply a delight. . . . Blume is a master at presenting the complexities of life. This novel is entertaining, heartbreaking, and redeeming.” —The Missourian
“Heartwarming.” —New York Daily News
“Satisfying, heartfelt. . . Delivers on the warm nostalgia that we remember from Blume’s earlier books and will appeal to her admirers—of which I am absolutely one—who regard any new book by this trailblazing literary and cultural icon as a celebratory event.” —Melissa M. Firman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Blume creates characters who are real and sympathetic.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Excellent and satisfying. . . Has all the elements of Blume’s best books: the complex relationships between friends and family members, the straight talk and lack of shame about sex, and, most of all, the compassionate insight into the pleasures and pains of growing up.” —Chicago Reader
“Has [Blume’s] signature warm, personal touch.” —Vogue.com
“Vividly rendered. . . Blume deftly demonstrates just how different the personal fallout from tragedy can turn out to be. . . . As Blume proves over and over again not just in In the Unlikely Event but in all of her fiction, life does go on in spite of hardship. We love. We lose. We fail. We may fall. But the lucky ones, we try our best to endure.” —The Oregonian
“Soars. . . . It’s Judy Blume and, therefore, it’s gold.” —Newark Star Ledger
“Judy Blume is revered. She is claimed, and cherished, and clutched close to the hearts of American adolescents and former adolescents, everywhere that books are read. . . . Blume’s great gift is [her] personal touch; her unflinching but reassuring voice—that of a no-nonsense big sister who gives it to you straight, then gives you a hug.” —Buffalo News
“Characteristically accessible, frequently charming, and always deeply human.” —Publishers Weekly
“Compelling. . . . Smoothly written. . . . A new Blume novel will always be big news.” —Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Judy Blume is one of America’s most beloved authors. She grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was a teenager in 1952 when the real events in this book took place. She has written books for all ages. Her twenty-eight previous titles include Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Forever; and Summer Sisters. Her books have sold more than eighty-five million copies in thirty-two languages. She is a champion of intellectual freedom, working with the National Coalition Against Censorship in support of writers, teachers, librarians, and students. In 2004, Blume was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She lives in Key West and New York City.
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The book is a skillful blend of fiction and reality, using historical facts of the three Elizabeth, NJ plane crashes in 1951-52 as backdrop to the story. I loved the way she adapted the flowery language of 50’s journalism for her fictional news articles that headed up some chapters of the book. I think my favorite character is uncle Henry, the reporter, for his level-headed clear thinking in the face of borderline hysteria surrounding the succession of plane crashes. Having spent much of my childhood around my dad’s store, Goldblatt Jewelers, on Broad Street in Elizabeth, I was tickled by the references to the landmarks and shops I remembered (including my dad’s store!). If you enjoy a good story with a vivid setting, laced with interesting historical information, this story will captivate you as all of Judy Blume’s stories do. The pages fly.
If I had written this review halfway through the book, I would have given it 5 stars. The descriptions of of the crashes and victims was horrifying and moving. The only thing I can compare it to is 911 on a smaller scale. That it should happen once is horrendous. Twice is beyond nightmare. And 3 times in 58 days - I just have no words to express the fear and horror. I know how long it took me to recover from 911. I know that all these years later, every time I drive past Newark Airport and a plane is coming in low for a landing, I flinch, wondering it if will crash on the Turnpike. I find incredible that the teachers did not discuss it with their students, parents did not discuss it with their children. This is the biggest thing that will ever happen in their lives (except 911) and except for Steve, the other characters seemed to just get over it and get on with their lives. I think that every day they would wake up and wonder if another crash was coming today.
Ms. Blume has written 2 books here: the book of the disastrous winter of 1951-52, and a high school level soap opera about some families connected to other families. I feel that turning the story into a soap opera trivializes the impact of the crashes on the witnesses and Elizabeth residents. So I reduced the rating to 4 stars. She should have ended the book much sooner.