Judy Blume books were among my favourite stories while I was growing up – in fact, I still have some well-loved, dog-eared and yellowed copies of Superfudge, Blubber and Are You There God, Its Me Margaret. The audience for her stories ranges from elementary school-aged children to adults and she has a gift of connecting with her readers. This 77 year old author is able to speak to the reader like a friend, writing about issues that affect us all. In the Unlikely Event, is her 29th novel and is written for an adult audience.
This fictional book was based Blume’s experience living in 1950s Elizabeth, New York when there were three separate plane crashes in a short period of time. The main character, Miri, reflects back on the horror of the crashes, the deaths of both passengers and those on the ground, and the lasting trauma to those left behind. The story weaves many characters, including generations of Miri’s family, friends and those that died in the crash. Because of the large number of characters, many who had very limited involvement in the story, it was a bit difficult to keep track of them yet their stories added to the drama and chaos of the times.
Although the story was written for adults, I could see teenaged girls reflecting on the issues that Miri dealt with: a single mother, living with her grandmother, a first boyfriend and a blended family. This honest reflection of life is Judy Blume’s trademark that I remember from Are You There God, Its Me Margaret, Deenie and Forever. Judy continues writing like the friend next door, the confidant and with great understanding of what the reader may be experiencing.
I enjoyed this novel and I am very lucky to have tickets to meet Judy Blume at the Toronto Reference Library at the end of June. I am hopeful to get a picture with this wonderful author and have my book signed at the event so you can look forward to a blog post about this event. The free tickets “sold” out quickly and I am sure that there will be an audience full of women who grew up with the iconic stories of Judy Blume!