Top positive review
Ms. Blume has written 2 books in 1 and should have quit while she was ahead
Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2018
I read all the time, and yet at age 70, this is the first Judy Blume book I have read. The reason I read it is that my husband grew up in Elizabeth and was 9 years old at the time and often speaks of the 3 plane crashes. The book mentions streets adjacent to his house and businesses and names he grew up with.
If I had written this review halfway through the book, I would have given it 5 stars. The descriptions of of the crashes and victims was horrifying and moving. The only thing I can compare it to is 911 on a smaller scale. That it should happen once is horrendous. Twice is beyond nightmare. And 3 times in 58 days - I just have no words to express the fear and horror. I know how long it took me to recover from 911. I know that all these years later, every time I drive past Newark Airport and a plane is coming in low for a landing, I flinch, wondering it if will crash on the Turnpike. I find incredible that the teachers did not discuss it with their students, parents did not discuss it with their children. This is the biggest thing that will ever happen in their lives (except 911) and except for Steve, the other characters seemed to just get over it and get on with their lives. I think that every day they would wake up and wonder if another crash was coming today.
Ms. Blume has written 2 books here: the book of the disastrous winter of 1951-52, and a high school level soap opera about some families connected to other families. I feel that turning the story into a soap opera trivializes the impact of the crashes on the witnesses and Elizabeth residents. So I reduced the rating to 4 stars. She should have ended the book much sooner.