Sunday, January 15, 2017

IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT by Judy Blume Audio Edition

     Surely a perfect title for beloved author Judy Blume’s latest adult novel.  What could possibly be more unlikely than three fatal plane crashes hitting Elizabeth, N.J.?  But, the tragedy did actually occur in 1952, and Elizabeth is Blume’s hometown.  At that time she was a teenager and remembers well not only the event but the aftershocks.  So, she has woven an unforgettable story using facts about the disaster and imagining three generations of a family as they try to come to terms with the unthinkable.  As she does this we are brought back to the 1950s via Nat King Cole singing Unforgettable, girls trying to emulate Elizabeth Taylor, the A bomb and, of course, young love.

It is 1987 when the story opens and Miri Ammerman returns to Elizabeth for a commemorative ceremony, which brings back memories of the tragedy and the year she was 15.
We view that year via several perspectives - Miri, her single mother, her grandmother, a beloved uncle, her best friend, Natalie.  It was a dreadful year for Miri in more ways than one as her uncle receives accolades for his coverage of the crashes in the local newspaper, but when Miri writes about it at school she winds up in the principal’s office.

The disaster brings many unexpected developments such as changing relationships, and the various ways in which people and the community as a whole try to cope.

In The Unlikely Event is another winner from Blume, filled with her characteristic warmth and understanding.   Her story is enriched even further by an accomplished reading by Kathleen McInerney who has performed in New York City and throughout the U.S. in both classical and contemporary theater.

- Gail Cooke

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