IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT

Judy Blume

In this brilliant new novel—her first for adults since Summer Sisters—Judy Blume takes us back to the 1950s and introduces us to the town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, where she herself grew up. Here she imagines and weaves together a vivid portrait of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed during one winter. At the center of an extraordinary cast of characters are fifteen-year-old Miri Ammerman and her spirited single mother, Rusty. Their warm and resonant stories are set against the backdrop of a real-life tragedy that struck the town when a series of airplanes fell from the sky,

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In this brilliant new novel—her first for adults since Summer Sisters—Judy Blume takes us back to the 1950s and introduces us to the town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, where she herself grew up. Here she imagines and weaves together a vivid portrait of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed during one winter. At the center of an extraordinary cast of characters are fifteen-year-old Miri Ammerman and her spirited single mother, Rusty. Their warm and resonant stories are set against the backdrop of a real-life tragedy that struck the town when a series of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving the community reeling. Gripping, authentic, and unforgettable, In the Unlikely Event has all the hallmarks of this renowned author’s deft narrative magic.

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  • Vintage
  • Paperback
  • May 2016
  • 512 Pages
  • 9781101873984

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$15.95

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About Judy Blume

Judy Blume is one of America’s most beloved authors. She grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was a teenager in 1952 when the real events in this book took place. She has written books for all ages. Her twenty-eight previous titles include Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Forever; and Summer Sisters. Her books have sold more than eighty-five million copies in thirty-two languages. She is a champion of intellectual freedom, working with the National Coalition Against Censorship in support of writers, teachers, librarians, and students. In 2004, Blume was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She lives in Key West and New York City.

Praise

“[A] page-turner … Like reconnecting with a long-lost friend.” —The New Yorker

“Makes us feel the pure shock and wonder of living … Judy Blume isn’t just revered, she’s revolutionary.” —The New York Times Book Review

Discussion Questions

1. Discuss the environment of Elizabeth, New Jersey, before the crashes occur. How would you describe the community? How does the community band together after the first crash?

2. Throughout the book, newspaper clippings are interspersed among the text. How do those articles help to provide context for the events that occur? How did they aid your understanding of changes in Elizabeth?

3. Class and status play a role throughout the book. How does Miri see herself in the socioeconomic structure of Elizabeth? When does she feel most uncomfortable with her family’s position? How does her idea of relative wealth change once she meets Mason?

4. Discuss Miri’s relationship with her mother. How would you define the relationship between Miri and Rusty at the beginning of the novel? Does the relationship change once Miri has her own children?

5. In the Unlikely Event is arguably a novel about the crashes as much as it is one about Henry Ammerman’s development as a journalist. How does Henry’s career evolve over the course of the novel? Is he ever conflicted by his role in reporting the tragedy?

6. Discuss the conspiracy theories that emerge after the crashes. For the teenagers in the novel, how do these rumors act as a means of coping?

7. The crashes create a sense of palpable fear and anxiety for the residents of Elizabeth throughout In the Unlikely Event. How does it affect Miri on a psychological level? What about Natalie?

8. How is teen culture described throughout In the Unlikely Event? What influence does pop culture have on Miri and her peers? Were you able to trace any similarities between the teens of the 1950s and the teens of today?

9. Discuss the events of the reunion. Did the characters’ lives turn out differently from how you would have expected?

10. Judy Blume has had a prolific career writing books for readers of all ages. How many of her previous novels, if any, have you read? How did your reading experience of In the Unlikely Event compare with her other works? Are you able to pinpoint anything in the writing or character development that felt distinctly “Judy Blume” in style or execution?