Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book review: In the Unlikely Event.

I'm bad at librarying. I'll reserve a bunch of books, and they'll all become available at once, and you can't renew books that have a waiting list, so then I'll end up with this high-pressure "read all the books at once" marathon of reading and listening to audio books and it all just calls for a stiff drink.

I get greedy. I love the library. They give you books! For free! Sometimes I overestimate my own reading potential and underestimate my need for sleep.

Anyway. I reserved Judy Blume's latest at the library. I waited a few months for it to become available, and then I picked it up right before I went out of town. And then I was reading another book, and then, pretty soon, I realized I had 4 days to start and finish the book before it was due. It was pretty high-pressure.

But dammit if it wasn't worth it.

"In the Unlikely Event" is a book for adults, but the main character is a 15-year-old girl. And dammit if Judy Blume can't write young people.

Reading this book took me back to devouring Judy's books for kids. I'd get my hands on a new-to-me Judy Blume book and I was lost to the world until it was done. Her characters spoke to me - they had horrible thoughts and things they didn't tell anyone else - just like me. It was a revelation, and seemed crazypants that An Adult wrote such things. Adults clearly didn't know anything about being a kid.

Har har.

"In the Unlikely Event" gave me that throwback reading experience, but it's also just a well-written book. It's engaging, with a plot that keeps you guessing and doesn't leave everyone living happily ever after - kind of like life.

My inner 10-year-old ached for the perfect happy ending. But my outer 40-year-old was thankful for such a fun read. All told, I give it 4 airline ground crew dachshunds.
What's your favorite all-time Judy Blume book? If forced to choose at gunpoint, I'd probably say "Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself." You?

6 comments:

smalltownme said...

You have exactly described my library life, although I'm still waiting on Judy Blume. I'm hold #20 out of 112.

Violet said...

Somehow I only remember reading Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. I'm sure I read other JB books but that one was THE book for me for quite a while.

I loved the library until I moved to a town that had mediocre holdings and a lame lending policy (2 week check out and no renewals!!). I went through several years of buying books then I got a Kindle. Now, I download free Kindle books like they are going out of style.

I'm putting the new Blume on my wishlist. :)

Becky said...

I'm at exactly the same point with the library. Just brought home "Pioneer Girl" and then got the notice "Girl in a Band" was waiting for me. Taking a beach weekend to get it all read.

"Starring Sally J" is probably my favorite. I was so excited about introducing my daughter to Judy Blume, but she (and most of her friends apparently) found her books slightly dark and didn't care for them. My mom circle weeps.

Cha Cha said...

Smalltown Me: We are library twinsies! The wait for the new JB is worth it. Be strong!

Violet: I'm sorry - what? No renewals? What kind of backwater place is this? At least you have the Kindle. I'm going to try out a Kindle on an upcoming trip - I'm strangely nervous, like books will find out I'm cheating on them.

Becky: Your daughter and her pals found JB too dark? Hmm. This hurts my heart. Maybe part of their power for me was that it was the 80s and everything was supposed to be great, but here were books that acknowledged a darker side to things. I wonder if kids now get enough darkness through other avenues. Grr. But! Don't you think Sally J. would have made a super-awesome movie? I just couldn't get enough of it.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

SQUEE!!! I LOVE that one best of all, too!
And this summer--get this: I ran out of reading material on the way home from Yellowstone so I dipped into the boys' stash. I re-read Blubber and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. They both charmed me and stood the test of time. How much kid fiction can really claim that? She is a genius.
And really, Blubber was much darker than I recall. Judy got bullying spot ON.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

You have described my library life. I must add this book to my requests (which will probably come due in a group, as usual). I often send a family member to pick up my holds at the library, so I suspect my library history (as recorded in computerland) has me down as a "places holds but never checks out books" kind of person. And it really makes me worried that the librarian will someday say, hey! Why don't you ever actually check out books. But I do... just not always under my account.
Judy Blume wrote so well about teenage angst in a very real way. I read most of her stuff when my parents were in their on-again, off-again marriage years.