As a woman in my 30s, I am definitely aware of the presence and significance of Judy Blume. And the fact that she recently celebrate her 80th birthday! (You hang in there, Judy). I read all the classics in my youth and read Summer Sisters a few years ago. I remember the former being formative and the latter not really at all, and that should have been an indicator of how I would feel about this book: a resounding shoulder shrug. I would say I finished it out of respect for Blume, but I did it more out of a sense of duty than because I was enjoying it.
I will caveat that I happen to be coming back to 1950s/60s American a lot in the past few months, so maybe my attitude was also impacted by too much of the same flavor.
Structurally this book was difficult to read. She chose to jump point of view in each short chapter, with each chapter narrated by a different character. I didn’t count, but there must have been about 20 different folks in here, and some were either so similar, or there names were so similarly odd, that it was hard to keep them straight. This felt like a book I would have enjoyed more if I could have put it down and come back to it, but that made it confusing to remember who was who, so I decided instead to power through.
Having the plot centered around a town reeling from multiple plan crashes was intriguing. I have flown a number of times and find it pretty benign at this point, so putting myself in the shoes of those at the very beginning of commercial aviation was interesting. Plus, loved the title (which ties in with that). I just felt like she maybe tried to do too much. Some of the characters I found unbelievable or thin, which isn’t surprising considering how many people she crammed in there. If she had been more intentional about how many stories she was telling, and focused on fewer, I think I would have been more drawn in. There was just too much to balance, and it felt like at a certain point they were all outdoing each other with personality extremes.
I still will recommend early Judy for all girls and women, but I can’t say I would say the same about her adult literature.