Tuesday 28 October 2014

Review ~ If I knew You Were Going To Be This Beautiful I Would Never Have Let You Go by Judy Chicurel

Tinder Press
30 October 2014

Caught between the past and the present, this book shows a community in turmoil and of lives irrevocably changed by circumstances.

Long Island 1972, and in the fictionalised town of Elephant Beach, the working class community face a time of great social and economic change. For Katie and her friends, newly graduated from high school, it is a time of discovery and of great personal development, but amongst the awakening of new found desire, lies the horror of lives irrevocably changed in the aftermath of the war in Vietnam.

What then follows is an evocative, and at times emotional, look at the dissatisfaction which dominated American social history during the early part of the nineteen seventies. The unhappy image of young men with lives permanently altered by dissatisfaction and of young women caught up in hopeless situations is captured in minute detail, and at times makes for uncomfortable reading. The carelessness of unprotected sexual encounters and the dark escape into drug abuse, sits uncomfortably with casual racism, and yet interestingly, there is a fundamental optimism along with the hope that life can only get better.

Initially, I found the book difficult to get into as there is much to take in, but by about a third of the way into the book, I began to appreciate more the true nature of the story and became more emotionally involved with the characters. There is no doubt that the author is writing with authority, and is entirely comfortable recounting a story which has a realistic historical feel to it and which works as a social commentary about a determined working class community during a time of great social change.

Thanks to Lovereading.co.uk for giving me the chance to read this book in advance of its publication as part of the Lovereading review panel.

If I Knew You Were Going To Be This Beautiful I Would Never Have Let You Go 

is published on the 30th October and will be available from a good book store near you.

For more reader reviews about this book please go to


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