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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, June 2015 - What could be better than a Judy Bloom book to kick off the summer? In the Unlikely Event is accessible historical fiction for adults. At its center is a real-life event that occurred in Blume's hometown of Elizabeth NJ in the early 1950s, when not one, but three planes fell from the sky over a three-month period. This is the common thread that ties together a large cast of characters whose stories span generations - each helping to paint a picture of a distinct time and place and of the long-term effect this shared experience has on an entire community. Personal, informative, and heart-warming all at once - In the Unlikely Event is exactly what I hoped from the renowned Judy Bloom! (Tricia, Audible Editor)

Publisher's Summary

In her highly anticipated new novel, Judy Blume, the New York Times number-one best-selling author of Summer Sisters and of young adult classics such as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, creates a richly textured and moving story of three generations of families, friends and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by unexpected events.

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was 15, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place - Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable”, Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on. 

In the Unlikely Event is vintage Judy Blume, with all the hallmarks of Judy Blume’s unparalleled storytelling, and full of memorable characters who cope with loss, remember the good times and, finally, wonder at the joy that keeps them going. 

“Like many family stories, this one is not without its life-changing secrets and surprises. There is no surprise that the book is smoothly written, and its story compelling. The setting - the early 1950s - is especially well realized through period references and incidents.” (Booklist

“In Blume’s latest adult novel...young and old alike must learn to come to terms with technological disaster and social change. Her novel is characteristically accessible, frequently charming and always deeply human.” (Publishers Weekly

©2015 Judy Blume (P)2015 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Characteristically accessible, frequently charming, and always deeply human." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Narrator Kathleen McInerney creates a vibrant audio version of the interlocked lives, families, and generations in Judy Blume's arresting, sometimes harrowing, new novel.... McInerney's vocal technique is marvelously flexible..." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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"HOPE FOR THE BEST... PLAN FOR THE WORST"

Would you consider the audio edition of In the Unlikely Event to be better than the print version?
NO. THIS WAS ONE BOOK THAT I APPRECIATED MORE IN THE WRITTEN VERSION. I PAYED MUCH CLOSER ATTENTION WHEN READING, AND AFTER COMPLETING I'M SO GLAD I DIDN'T MISS ANYTHING FROM THIS AMAZING (PART BIO, PART FICTION) TRAIL BLAZER OF A BOOK.! TREMENDOUS PLOT, AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. WOULDN'T CHANGE A THING!

What other book might you compare In the Unlikely Event to and why?
A BOOK THAT COMES IMMEDIATELY TO MIND AS A GREAT EXAMPLE IN WHICH STRONG COMPARISONS CAN EASILY BE MADE TO: "IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT" IS PHILIP ROTH'S: "NEMESIS". IT IS A NOVEL ABOUT THE POLIO EPIDEMIC OUTBREAK, & THE LIMITATIONS CAUSED BY THE FACT THAT NO ONE KNEW WHAT TO DO, (OR IF ANYTHING COULD BE DONE) TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AND CHILDREN FROM CONTRACTING THIS KILLER. JEWS BLAMING CATHOLICS AND VICE VERSA. HENCE, THE FINGER POINTING THREAD BETWEEN BOTH NOVELS. PEOPLE DESPERATELY NEEDED/WANTED TO KNOW WHY THIS WAS HAPPENING AND WANT ANSWERS YESTERDAY!!!SAME GOES FOR:"IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT" NO ONE KNEW HOW TO STOP, NOR WHAT WAS CAUSING THE PLANE CRASHES, POINTING FINGERS WAS COMMONPLACE, AS PEOPLE NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND "WHY" IT WAS HAPPENING, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHY IT WAS HAPPENING TO THEIR FAMILIES, FRIENDS, ETCETERA... HUMAN NATURE AT ITS BEST

Which character – as performed by Kathleen McInerney – was your favorite?
THE PROTAGONIST LITTLE GIRL, WHO LIVES WITH MOM AND HER GRANDMOTHER, WAS MY FAV. CHARACTER. SHE IS THE ONE PERSON I GOT A SENSE AS DEMONSTRATING A REAL AUTHENTICITY.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
"ONCE BURNED, TWICE SHY." I CHOSE THIS MANTRA BECAUSE THESE CHARACTERS WOULD CLEARLY HAVE BENEFITED FROM ITS STRENGTH DURING SUCH AN UNFATHOMABLE, TRAGIC TIME.

Any additional comments?
FAVORITE JUDY BLUME BOOK EVER! THIS BOOK IS NOT A PRE-TEEN, TEEN OR RACY ADULT BOOK EASY FOR CHILDREN TO UNDERSTAND, YET WRITTEN FOR ADULTS ENJOY AND HOPE OTHERS ENJOY(ED) AS MUCH AS I.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Teen Writing & Narration

I am new to Judy Blume's writing and took a chance with this book. I know she usually writes for a child and/or teen audience. All of the 5 star positive reviews here made me decide to give this "adult" entry a try. That was a mistake. After listening for several hours I found that I could not go on. The book was adolescent and totally geared towards teen listeners. I found the narration childish, cloyingly sweet, sing song and grating. Can't recommend unless you are a fan of teen books and narration.

44 of 57 people found this review helpful

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My first Audio Book

What did you love best about In the Unlikely Event?

This is my first audio book and I enjoyed having someone read to my while on my walks and while I drive.I liked that the plane crashes were based on actual events. And how Judy Blume tied her childhood memories into this book.. A good story line!

What does Kathleen McInerney bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I enjoyed Kathleen as a narrater. I will look for more narrations done by her.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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In the unlikely event you fall in love with this book

I remember Judy Blume books growing up so I had to download this at the first chance I got. Good storyline and I cannot imagine growing up with 3 plane crashes in my town let alone 1, could you imagine if that happened today? There would be riots.

I really enjoyed the narrator Kathleen she gave a voice to every character and I'm going to download another book right now that she narrates.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Another solid story from Judy Blume

As an avid fan of Judy Blume's books since I was a child, I can fairly state Judy's works are imperfect, in my very humble opinion, but engaging. The intricacy with which she weaves so many characters in this book is outstanding. The slight downside is, because there are so many characters, most are not as fully developed as I think they should be. I also feel like the end is a little too neat.

The performance was wonderful and definitely added to the excitement of listening to the story. I recommend this book to anyone who is a tween or older. I also think it's fun to hear about specific places in New Jersey I recall as a child, but was not yet born during this time period. It's a great read when you want something to take your mind away from the world.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Gripping & heart wrenching

I've not read Judy Blume before. This is so well written with complex character relationships, as well as a view into the cultural norms of post WWII families. I can't imagine how difficult it was for Ms. Blume to write this story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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loved it

Took a while to get into, but it's an engaging read with complex characterization. Didn't want to put it down.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Submerge yourself in another time

Totally engrossing story and then to find out that this is based on true events makes you want to research afterwards. Love Merri and Blume totally wraps up the story in a satisfying way for the reader.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Blume does not disappoint

I have always loved Judy Blume and this is another great story. The story of these plane crashes is devastating. She makes the characters come to life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Good story

Good story, likable characters. Enjoyed it!! Narrator clear and easy to understand. Based on actual event.
Nice description of life in the 50s

2 of 2 people found this review helpful