Take A Peek Inside Judy Blume's New Book

Photo: Courtesy of Knopf.
It’s rare that a novelist evolves and grows with her readers as they move from childhood to adulthood, but Judy Blume has done exactly that. While many of us are most familiar with Blume’s boundary-pushing Y.A. classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Forever, the beloved author has written adult novels as well, including the bestseller Summer Sisters. Now, 15 years after the debut of her last novel for grown-ups, Blume is back with her long-awaited fourth adult title In The Unlikely Event (Knopf).

In this decades-spanning novel set in Elizabeth, NJ (where Blume herself grew up), the stories of three generations of families and strangers intersect as their lives are forever changed by a series of freak airplane accidents in the 1950s — when airplane travel was a new, exciting, and scary technological advance. Peek inside the brand-new book below, which comes out today.

The following is excerpted from In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume. Copyright © 2015 by Judy Blume. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Miri


Miri was not happy when Rusty showed up at the Osners’ party. And even less happy to see she was wearing her good black dress, her dress shoes and stockings with seams. Then there was the hair. Rita Hayworth hair. To her shoulders. Heads turned when Rusty came into the living room. She waved at Miri but Miri turned away. “What is my mother doing here?” she asked Natalie.

“My mother wants to introduce her to Cousin Tewky from Birmingham.”

“Tewky? What kind of a name is Tewky?”

“Some family nickname. He’s my mother’s first cousin, from the banking side of the family. You know, Purvis Brothers Bank.”

Miri didn’t know.

“My mother’s from the department store side.”

Miri didn’t know that, either. “You should have warned me,” she told Natalie.

“How was I supposed to know your mother didn’t tell you she was coming?”

Corinne greeted Rusty and led her straight to a man, a man who must have been Tewky Purvis, balding, not especially handsome, but not ugly, either, with a mustache. Well, half the men in the room had mustaches, including Dr. O. She couldn’t hold that against him. They were talking now, her mother and Tewky Purvis, and laughing, maybe even flirting. Miri didn’t like it. She didn’t know how grown-ups judged each other, especially how women judged men. It never made sense to her. It’s about character, Rusty once told her. Strength, goodness. A sense of humor doesn’t hurt, either.

She didn’t ask how men judged women because she already knew. It was obvious, and Rusty looked glamorous tonight. “That’s not all of it,” Rusty had once argued. “But you’re right — looks are certainly a starting point. Chemistry, too.” Miri understood chemistry now. Chemistry turned your legs to jelly and made your insides roll over.

If Mason hadn’t had to work tonight Miri might not be at the Osners’ party. She hoped she’d never have to choose between her best friend and the boy she loved. Since seventh grade, New Year’s Eve had been for just the two of them, Natalie and Miri. She didn’t think Natalie would have invited Mason. Maybe someday when Natalie was also in love, they’d invite dates to the Osners’ party, but not now. Rusty must have thought that Miri would be out with Mason when she accepted Corinne’s invitation. Now she’d have to deal with her daughter keeping an eye on her.

Rusty


She decided to go to the party at the last minute when Irene urged her to get out and enjoy herself. Seeing the worry on Miri’s face now, she began to regret her decision. Maybe it had been a mistake to keep the men in her life a secret. Not that there had been many. But she’d never brought a date home. Not one man in fifteen years. She hadn’t done a thing to get Miri used to the idea, to the possibility. In all these years, there had been just two serious boyfriends. One of them had been married. She certainly wasn’t going to introduce him to her family. She knew from the start he would never leave his wife and children. She knew she wasn’t his first affair. Yet she kept seeing him. For five years she saw him every week. If you asked her about him today she wouldn’t be able to explain it. Just that she’d been young and she’d enjoyed the attention, the thrill, the sex.

The second man was decent and available. He’d proposed after a few months, with a diamond as big as her thumbnail. For a minute she thought she could learn to love him, could be happy with his promise of a big house in the suburbs, a maid to clean and cook, summer camp for Miri. But when it came time to introduce him to the family she couldn’t do it. They would see right through her. They would see the truth—she didn’t love him, wasn’t the least attracted to him and didn’t want to marry him, not even for an easier life.

Sometimes she wondered about her first love, but not often. A girl gets in trouble, she marries the boy. They wind up hating each other, resenting each other and finally they get a divorce. By then it’s taken its toll on both of them and their children. No, she never wanted that, which is why she’d refused to allow her mother to call the Monskys and force Mike to marry her. Maybe she would fall in love again. If and when that happened she would introduce him to Miri. But until then, what was the point?



Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celeb goodness, insider intel, movie and TV news, and more on the Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page!

More from Books & Art

We're admittedly in a golden age of television. That makes tuning into Netflix on any given evening kind of a no-brainer. But while there's a ton of good ...
What could be as breathtaking as seeing ballet dancer Misty Copeland on stage in all her glory? Seeing Misty Copeland in all her glory — between the glossy...
"The story contains many references to Bo being bisexual and an abundance of bad language, so it is recommended for mature junior and senior high readers...
Vanessa Bayer of "SNL" interviews author Jessi Klein
We all know what it means to call someone a trainwreck. It refers to a person who has gone off the rails — a hot mess who always seems to be in the ...
Sneak peek inside book ^^^^! Link to order in bio. #carrythisbook A video posted by @abbijacobson on Sep 25, 2016 at 10:33am PDT Abbi Jacobson, ...
Back in the early 1970s, Pierre Le Guennec was Pablo Picasso's handyman and electrician. Le Guennec had such a good relationship with the artist that he ...
Whether rooted in reality or a glamorized rom-com, job stereotypes make it easy to assume the voices behind most runway reviews, PR pitches, and cover ...
J.K. Rowling, the reigning queen of the Wizarding World, has a present for you. That present is a quiz in which Pottermore will select your patronus. We ...
I do not recognize Mara Wilson when she arrives at an ice cream shop in Brooklyn, wearing a red dress and a sweep of black eyeliner. When she says hello...
In honor of National Support Teen Literature Day, we've collected the best books to pick up if you're in the mood for a little young adult lit. YA has only...
There are some books you pick up because you know they'll be tear-jerkers, and you're not opposed to a good cry. Then there are the books that sucker-punch...
It's been a big year for the Winnie the Pooh characters. This summer, the original stuffed animals the literary characters are based upon (who reside in ...
Even if you're not actually going back to school, there's something about September air that makes it feel as though it's time to go buy pencils and ...