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Book Review

‘In the Unlikely Event’

7/27/2016

In the year 1951-1952, Judy Blume was a teenager living in Elizabeth, New Jersey, when three separate plane crashes in the city killed a total of 118 people. Her latest book, while strictly a work of fiction, centers around those events and their effect on Elizabeth’s residents.book 7.28

Many characters fill the pages of this novel, and the story is told from a number of perspectives. All the characters’ lives intertwine with that of 15-year-old Miri Ammerman, who was likely based on Blume herself. Blume’s own father was a dentist who was called upon to help identify bodies — Miri is the daughter of a single mother but her best friend’s father is a dentist.

The tragedies touch all the characters, but Miri and her young friends seem the most traumatized. Miri’s mother, grandmother and uncle, who vividly remember the depression and World War II, demonstrate their faith that life will go on and that no one should allow fear to limit her life.

Blume magically captures the place and time with her vivid descriptions of Elizabeth’s downtown, finished basements with jukeboxes, wood-paneled dens and families clustered around 17-inch Zenith televisions in wood cases.

Blume’s first book was published in 1969 and she followed it with another 12 titles for children and teens and one novel for adults in the 1970s. Fourteen titles have followed since 1980. This book will appeal to both readers who remember the time period she describes so powerfully as well as those who remember savoring a Judy Blume book as a child. CV

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By Judy Blume

Vintage

May 3, 2016

$15.95

496 Pages

 

Sally Wisdom retired from the Des Moines Public Library in 2011 and found her dream job at Beaverdale Books soon after.   

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