I love Judy Blume.
I love her with the same passion I love Paula Danziger and Cynthia Voigt. Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? and Blubber remain two of my all time favorite books, and I love gifting Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to young readers. For Pete’s sake, I had a crush on Peter, Fudge’s big brother, when I was about eight. He was my first book boyfriend.
But…I didn’t love this book.
In the winter of 1952, the small town of Elizabeth, NJ, becomes known as Plane Crash City when three different plane crashes take place over the course of six weeks. This is based on Blume’s real life knowledge of the events; she grew up in Elizabeth, and lived there during that fateful winter. In the Unlikely Event follows the story of fifteen year old Miri Ammerman and her mother, Rusty, during those six weeks. Her father is nowhere to be found, something that is pretty out of the ordinary in the early 1950s. Miri and Rusty live above Miri’s grandmother and her uncle Henry, an intrepid young reporter whose star rises with each subsequent plane crash.
Much of the novel is told in little vignettes – stories about an up and coming actress having a drink at the airport just before she boards the flight, a father and son taking an unscheduled trip, an older woman flying to Florida ahead of her loving husband. Woven throughout, though, is the story of Miri and her first love, the appearance of her father, the loss of a friend.
I’ve struggled with this review quite a bit and I can’t quite put my finger on why. The story is good, the topic is interesting, but…meh. I think maybe it boils down to the style, and that’s why I just can’t love it. It bounces all over, it’s pretty dispassionate in more than one place, and it just didn’t have the magic I was looking for.
I still love Judy, though.
More reviews found here.