Book Club for June – In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

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Hooray! Judy Blume has released a new book for grown ups and it’s our new bookclub pick for June.

Blume wrote some of our favourite books when we were kids including: Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge, to name but a few. She is charming, funny, gentle and wise. At 77 years old she claims that this will probably be her last book, so jump on board and have a read.

It has only just been released but critics have been positive so far. It’s set in her hometown of Elizabeth New Jersey and is based on  three actual airplane crashes that occurred in her childhood.  The New York Times said, ” Blume nails every 1950’s detail, from the refinished basements with wet bars and knotty pine walls to Elizabeth Taylor haircuts and mentions of Bogart and Bacall,” Ooh, this may help me ease  my Mad Men addiction . Excellent.  Let’s start discussion on the last Friday of June.

Now as for The Girl on the Train……

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SPOILER ALERTS:

Kate :

Overall, I enjoyed it. I was a bit disappointed, but only because I had heard so much hype about it.  Also, I felt like it was very similar to Gone Girl.

I liked the ending – I was glad it wasn’t the counsellor because he seemed really nice and I wouldn’t have enjoyed knowing that he was capable of such a thing. I also really enjoyed the premise of people sitting on the train and each one of them having such a different life that we seldom get access to. I’ve been on trains and looked at houses and wondered what was going on inside them. It was fun to see Rachel do that too and then to get to go inside one of the homes and  watch the drama unfold.

For me, this was primarily a book about characters and I didn’t like very many of them. That may also be why I didn’t like it as much as I expected to. I became quite frustrated with Rachel and just wanted to scream at her to stop drinking. At the same time, I was also feeling empathy for her. I found her roommate the easiest one to relate to for that reason. She was on the rollercoaster with us and just had to watch Rachel helplessly.

 

Here are some questions I still have that maybe someone can help me with:

1. Why on earth were these three women so attracted to Tom? That seems a little implausible to me. I mean, he was evil. How could three intelligent women all fall for him to such a degree?

2. In the last couple of chapters, did anybody else want to grab Anna and shake some sense into her?

3. Was Scott emotionally abusive to Megan? Or did he just crack under the pressure at the end?

 

2 thoughts on “Book Club for June – In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

  1. Cara Turner

    Kate and Other Bibliophiles,
    I am not quite finished with the book, so I will post more later, but these are some of my thoughts.

    I agree that the train premise is appealing. The monotony of the rides to and from work would stimulate my imagination about people I did not even know. So, I like that part.

    I also have to say that this author has the best description and portrayal of an alcoholic I have ever read. The way Hawkins describes Rachel’s obsession with alcohol, and needing it to squelch her emotions is true to life. She paints Rachel as utterly pathetic, someone who has reached rock bottom. The whole conundrum of not knowing what happened when she blacked out is so realistic. Rachel wants so much to recollect what she did that night, but it is almost impossible. And, yet she feels sick with worry and guilt. The what-the-hell-did-I-do-last-night fear. And, she has isolated herself because of her alcoholism so much so that she has no one to turn to. She is alone.This character, although pathetic, is sympathetic and complex. It is ironic that it took someone else’s tragedy to bring about a modicum of sobriety. It gave her a thin light, a crack in the door, that she could start looking at something beyond herself.

    To be continued…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cara Turner

    Okay, book fans, I just finished the book, and it was better than I thought it would be. I was captivated until the very end. That says a good deal about the author’s plot development. She kept me guessing until the end, which was impressive because I am pretty good at guessing the plot twists.

    I would agree that the characters are all a little pathetic and deeply flawed in their own ways. Scott has a bad temper and I do think he was emotionally abusive.
    Rachel’s an alcoholic who wallows in self-pity.
    Anna is weak and gullible.
    Tom is a pathological liar and psycho.
    Cathy is a classic enabler who has no idea she is one.

    None of them are very sympathetic characters. Megan and the psychologist are the two nicest people in the story, and Megan is seriously burdened by her history. I do feel some sympathy for Rachel, especially at the end. She turns out much stronger than I ever thought–going over to Tom’s house, killing him, and then giving up the booze for good. So, she redeems herself.

    To answer Kate’s question about Anna, yes, she totally needs to be slapped, but she also showed courage in a bad situation. The last time we, the readers, see Anna she is somewhat psycho herself. One has to wonder what Evie will be like as a grown woman.

    When Rachel and Tom were outside in that final scene, I thought it would have been interesting to have had a character–say the man with the red hair–watch Rachel kill Tom and talk about it from his perspective. Just a thought.

    Okay, now who else wants to respond? Come on. Give it to me:)

    Like

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