Growing up, I loved Judy Blume. Nobody else wrote for tween girls with the same candor, especially on topics like wanting your period to start! So when I found out that Judy Blume was coming out with a new book for adults this summer, I couldn’t wait to read it. Her latest — “In the Unlikely Event” — tells the intersecting stories of residents in Elizabeth, NJ, during a six-month period in the early 1950’s when three airplanes crashed in their town en route to Newark Airport. Though fictional, her latest novel is based on actual events. Ms. Blume grew up in Elizabeth and was fourteen when three planes crashed in her hometown. This unfortunate series of events rocked a small town, as the stories are told mostly through the eyes of 15-year old Miri Ammerman and her family. After thoroughly enjoying “In the Unlikely Event,” I was reminded of my love of Ms. Blume’s teen books and curious about the novels she wrote for grown-ups. “Wifey” and “Smart Women” were published in 1978 and 1983, respectively. These novels also parallel events that occurred in Ms. Blume’s life. “Wifey” tells the perspective of a young wife and mother, struggling with the idea that her singular goal was to be a good wife and to a lesser extent, mother. “Smart Women” seems to pick up where “Wifey” left off, telling the stories of two newly-divorced women as they forge new lives, including the perspectives of their young daughters. Aside from the absence of cell phones or certain pop culture references, these stories — both of which were set in their published date — have not lost their appeal thirty plus years later. I found myself enjoying these reads as much as I had her young adult books in the 80’s. It was such a pleasure rediscovering my love of Judy Blume; I have been passing along a couple of her books to my daughter, who asks with surprise — “have you read these?” If you haven’t, I suggest you rediscover Judy Blume too.
For the kids:
and for you:
Book cover images from Amazon.com. Timeline indicates age of each book’s main protagonist.
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