I grew up reading Judy Blume. I devoured her books, stayed up all night, chose Margret and Fudge over my real friends, shared my food and drinks with the book so that the pages are still shaded like a gross rainbow. So when I recently found out that she had written books for adults, I was over the moon. I went on amazon and immediately ordered both Summer Sisters and In The Unlikely Event.
I finished In The Unlikely Event the day before yesterday. It took me 3.5 months to actually finish this book. I started reading in March but kept giving it up to read other books. I also got a hardbound copy of the book which was quite big and bothersome to carry around.
However, the real reason it took me this long to finish the book is because it was incredibly slow. The last fiction book I read that was this slow was The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling. It did get interesting but not until I was 200 pages into the book. That is a long time to wait to catch the reader’s interest. Most people wouldn’t even give a book that much time (I hate leaving books unfinished though).
Overall, I was very disappointed. It didn’t have any of the Judy Blume style that I so fondly remember. I know writing for adults is a lot different from writing for a younger audience but this book did not make me feel anything. I didn’t laugh, I didn’t cry, I didn’t get attached to any character. Even when all the tragedies were occurring, I found it hard to actually feel bad for the people of Elizabeth, NJ.
I normally like multiple perspective writing but I lost track of how many characters I was following. Most of them didn’t have an introduction and you were thrust into their perspective with almost no context. It took a long time to get used to that. I think the number of characters also made it hard to actually connect with any of them.
Another thing that upset me was that the synopsis of the book makes the book sound very different from what it actually is. When I read the synopsis I was expecting half the book about to be about Miri’s past and the other half to be about her present. Instead there’s one chapter at the end that shows Miri’s present and kind of seems like it was written only because Blume had no clue how to end the book.
Basically, if you haven’t read this already, you’re not missing much.