I had never read any of Judy Bloom’s books before and I don’t know why! In the Unlikely Event is Bloom’s first novel for adults and I looooved it. With my whole heart.
Granted it started off a little slow, and at times it was hard to keep track of all the different characters, but Bloom sure has a way of pulling at your heartstrings with a subtle give and take with the reader throughout the book.
In the Unlikely Event is based on the real tragedies of 3 airplane crashes in Elizabeth, New Jersey in the early 1950s. At the center of these tragedies is 15 year old Miri Ammerman, who sets the tone of the novel with her adolescent excitement of venturing into the world of adults, only to be faced with the struggles of navigating this world as unexpected changes in friendships, a new found love interest and secrets from her family’s past emerge into her young life. As hard as life is as a teenager, Miri witnesses not 1, not 2, but 3 plane crashes in her hometown. Miri and the community struggle to understand these inexplicable tragedies and the reader can’t help but become invested in the characters and share in their heartbreak.
The novel gives us a glimpse of the cultural complexities of the 50’s. It switches from one viewpoint to another in quick succession, but Blume masterfully weaves together these individual layers to ultimately tell a story about love and the resilience of life.