cover image In the Unlikely Event

In the Unlikely Event

Judy Blume, read by Kathleen McInerney. Random House Audio, 14 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-1-101-91404-5

In 1952, the New Jersey town of Elizabeth is traumatized by three separate plane crashes in the span of one year. Blume’s novel explores the events of that tumultuous period through the eyes of 15-year-old Miri, her family, other residents of the town, and relatives of the victims. Narrator McInerney expertly voices the myriad of characters, ranging from small children to teenagers to the elderly, giving each a distinct voice and portraying the conflicting emotions and events, both large and small. In addition to the trauma of the plane crashes, Miri and her friends are going through adolescence, high school, first loves, and plans for college or jobs. Through her narration, McInerney is able to convey all the characters’ horror and reaction to the tragedies. She also captures their coming-of-age story, the little joys and sorrows and insecurities of growing up, the sense of small-town life in the 1950s—and the mature perspective of Miri as she returns to her hometown 35 years later for a memorial. This is a thoughtful, insightful tale, well told and well narrated. A Knopf hardcover. (June)