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in the unlikely event

Saturday, July 11, 2015

life is a series of unlikely events, isn’t it? hers certainly is. one unlikely event after another, adding up to a rich, complicated whole.

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I grew up on Judy Blume and her words fed me in that formative way that makes reading essential. I still have her entire anthology somewhere in a box, from Freckle Juice to Blubber and all those golden others I devoured as a kid, repetitively on a rota. I first read her initial foray into adult fiction, a great big beautiful book called ‘Summer Sisters’ at 18. And every year since, I come back to it every summer. It’s a tradition of sorts. I simply adore Blume, her words have floated through so much of my life, she practically feels like a friend.  So when I found out that summer 2015 marked the launch of her next adult fiction book, I was excited – but genuinely so, in the same way I’m excited for Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book or waiting for Petra Collins’ ‘Babe’ hardback to hit my doorstep.

Words mean so much to me, not in the spoken sense; when spoken they fly around at such speeds, weightless without the meaning they deserve. I much prefer them written down, strung together and combined in all kinds of ways that make them heavy with significance. Judy Blume’s ability to do just that is remarkable, she twists simple vocabulary into a rich, complicated whole. And her latest tale, irresistibly set in the 50s, following lives dappled in tragedy, threaded with autobiographical strands … I quite simply loved it. It lived up to the grand expectations I had after re-reading Summer Sisters every year, it was human and soul warming in the way I feel a summer read should be. The perfect sort of book to read in a shady spot in the grass during a late afternoon you took all for yourself.

And I did just that, underneath a polka dot blanket and a retro outfit inspired by the novel’s 1950s setting – I love, absolutely love incorporating books into the content I share here. I hope you enjoy the photos but moreover, I hope you buy the book. I hope it feeds you in the same simple way it did me, and above all, I hope it reminds you of something I so often forget, the one simple, beautiful thing I have taken and kept for myself from this book; the sheer unlikeliness of life and the fascinating fragility that comes with such uncertainty. We all need that reminder every so often, and so I thank Blume for reminding me. I hope you let her remind you too.


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