In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume

unlikelyeventIt may be hard to believe that three unrelated plane crashes could hit residential areas in the same town over a period of a few months, but that’s exactly what happened in New Jersey when Judy Blume was growing up, and she fictionalizes that incredibly real-life coincidence as the backdrop for her novel In the Unlikely Event. Though this is billed as one of Blume’s novels for adults, the main character throughout the novel is teenaged Miri Ammerman. Miri, along with the other teenagers in the novel, lives through the three crashes and the fear and uncertainty that descends on the community in the wake of the tragedies. For Miri and her friends the crashes are just one more puzzles piece to fit into the complex jigsaw of growing up, falling in love, coping with family and changing friendships. Perhaps this is marketed as an adult rather than a young-adult novel because we get a few point of view chapters from the perspective of adult characters, and in a framing story the adult Miri goes back to her hometown for a reunion and meets many of the people she knew as a teenager. But essentially, this is a standard coming of age story with the unusual twist of a series of improbable but unrelated disasters in the background.

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