Book Club Review: In The Unlikely Event

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Well my friends, it’s time! Today we’re going to talk about In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume.

So for those of you who missed it I kicked off a Book Club last month. Personally I was an avid reader, I’d literally read at the dinner table (until my mum made me put my book away), I loved it. Lately life and jobs (and honestly computer and tv screens) got in the way and I more or less stopped reading print books. For two YEARS, isn’t that crazy? So now I’m making time for it and thought I’d open this up to anyone else who’d like to join!

Let’s dive right in!

 

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Some questions for thought and comments:

  1. How did switching narratives effect your reading? Did it make the moments when planes crashed feel more chaotic or stressful?
  2. Do you think you felt the loss of certain characters, like Ruby, more prominently after seeing their point of view?
  3. Do you believe that Natalie’s condition pre-existed the first crash or created by stress? Is it more than simply an eating disorder?
  4. This book had several out of the blue plot twists around Rusty and Mason – How did you react to them? Could you see them coming?
  5. Why do you think Miri persisted in keeping Natalie’s “secret”? Was she right to?
  6. How did Miri and Mason’s interactions at their reunion make you feel?

–SPOILERS–

I’m not going to lie to you guys I struggled with some of the darker moments of this book. My Mum, who was reading along with me stopped at the first crash and it didn’t get any easier. Reading about their personal reactions to really brutal tragedies made me feel uncomfortable, like I was watching a disaster without offering to help.

That said, Mrs. Blume did an exceptional job of depicting people’s reactions after repeated and unexplained shocks. Particularly interesting was the way she captured the impulse to rationalize. The theories ranged from flying saucers to political sabotage, and you watched as people struggled with whether they should run for a safer place to live or stick it out.

Miri and Rusty were wonderful characters, I loved every bit of information I got about Rusty in particular. I found her fascinating, sensible and glamorous. They both were likable and relatable and were pushing the boundaries to be heard and respected in their own right. They weren’t perfect but that’s what made them real. Miri and Natalie’s diminishing friendship also served as a sort of mirror to Rusty and Dr. Osner’s fledgling romance.

Mason, oh Mason, I was never quite committed to liking him but I was still disappointed and more than a little disgusted when his moment of heroism was followed by the realization that he’d been cheating on Miri. Honestly, I think I took issue with Mason’s internal monologue about the other woman more than I did the cheating. Mason after all made the decision to sneak around (yes he’s young but still), when inevitably Miri found out, he treated and thought of the other woman in such demeaning terms. What did you all think about this bit? Maybe I’m just a bit sensitive to the terms used to define women these days. Okay, okay enough of Mason!

The visual pictures Ms. Blume painted were amazing – The sight of a christmas tree lighting in the heart of New York still lives with me. Her descriptions of the Volupté compacts was so intriguing that I immediately went to look them up.

Overall I would recommend this book to any of those who didn’t participate in this month’s book club. It’s a fascinating portrait of people under extreme stress. But trust me, don’t read it on an airplane or in the middle of a trip that involves flight.

Monday we’ll vote on a new book!

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