Sunday, 26 October 2014

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

No matter how beautiful some dreams are, there comes a time when we must let them go.
  It is the summer of 1972, and Katie has just turned eighteen. Katie and her town, Elephant Beach, are both on the verge: Katie of adulthood, and Elephant Beach of gentrification. But not yet: Elephant Beach is still gritty, working-class, close-knit. And Katie spends her time smoking and drinking with her friends, dreaming about a boy just back from Vietnam who’s still fighting a battle Katie can’t understand.  In this poignant, evocative debut collection, Judy Chicurel creates a haunting, vivid world, where conflicts between mothers and daughters, men and women, soldiers and civilians and haves and have-nots reverberate to our own time. She captures not only a time and place, but the universal experience of being poised between the past and the future. 

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Expected publication: October 30th 2014 by Putnam Adult 

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

This book follows Katie through the summer of 1972 after she graduates from high school in the town of Elephant Beach.

I'll start by saying that I did enjoy the time frame of this book. It was interesting to read about the teen/adult population of the 70's. A lot of issues are touched on including the effects of war, drug and alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancy. I did however have many issues with the book. It was extremely busy with too many characters and the story jumped all over the map leaving me confused and frustrated. So many names were mentioned in this book that I couldn't keep them all straight. Just when I thought I had them figured out there would be a new chapter talking about someone new. I had a hard time connecting with the book because of it and found it challenging to get through it. For a book that is so busy it was slow at the same time if that makes any sense. It took me quite a while to get through the first half but it did improve slightly in the second half.

It just didn't have what I need in a book to hold my interest and if I weren't reviewing it I probably would have given up on it part way through.

About the Author
Judy Chicurel’s work has appeared in national, regional, and international publications, including The New York TimesNewsday, and Granta. Her plays have been produced and performed in Manhattan. Chicurel currently lives by the water in Brooklyn.


  1. Looks like the cover is the best part of this book!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  2. That's an honest to God, actual title of the book??? OMG it's huge!! :D
    Book Maniac Reviews

  3. Oooh, I absolutely hate it when too many characters are introduced! I just want to spend time with well developed, thought out characters - not characters just added for the heck of it! And my God, that title is a mouthful!
    Kristen @ One Chapter Ahead