Judy Blume writes a new novel for adults and you know I’m going to read it. The deal is sealed. I loved Blume as a kid and now that I’m older I admire her commitment to free speech, issues surrounding sexuality and feminism. Given all of that, I had high expectations for In The Unlikely Event.
The story is set in the New Jersey town of Elizabeth and is based on three plane crashes that happened there in 1952 and 1953. Told from a variety of points of view (perhaps too many), it looks at the impact that these crashes had on those living in the community. Not surprisingly, Blume did the best job of this when looking at the teenagers of Elizabeth.
In spite of the gripping subject matter, I was initially a little put off by the writing and tone of In The Unlikely Event. It was a little too simplistic and left nothing to imagination. And then I realized that it was written like the rest of Blume’s books, as though intended for a YA audience in spite of the fact that it has been marketed for adults. Once I accepted that Blume will always be a YA author, I enjoyed the book much more.
Who would like this book? Fans of Blume are going to read this book regardless of what I have to say. They are like me and are attracted to the Blume brand and the nostalgia that comes along with that. And even though In The Unlikely Event has been marketed as an adult book, I would certainly let most teenagers read it. There is sex, but it is written about in a much more innocent way than, say, the Twilight series, and there may even be some language (I can’t remember). There are some grizzly descriptions of the plane crashes, but given what most teens see on TV it probably deserves little warning. My only advice: don’t read it on a plane.
I would like to thank Penguin RandomHouse Canada for sending me copy of this book for review consideration.
Good to know that it reads more like a YA novel – I will keep that in mind!
I was looking forward to this one…the premise sounded really interesting! But, I read the sample and it just fell flat for me, so I never bought the full book. Maybe it had something to do with the writing style like you mentioned…
In terms of the writing style, i think it got better as it went along. Or at least it stopped bugging me. And I wouldn’t write it off entirely, the topic is rather interesting. I just think it might be a library read rather than a purchase.
So you liked the story of it — after you got over the writing? I’m not sure if I’m sold on the story of it yet from what I’ve heard around but I recall fondly Blubber and Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing. So I might venture for it …
Those were my 2 favourites!
Do you think they marketed the book to adults because they were counting on her grown-up fans auto-buying the book? When I heard she was writing an adult book, I assumed it would be something with a little more substance to the story.
Possibly. Nostalgia is great for getting people to buy books. Look at Watchman. Also, I heard Blume say that she just writes without a particular audience in mind.