Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Review: If I Knew You Were Going to Be this Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let You Go

If I Knew You Were Going to Be this Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let You Go
by Judy Chicurel

Publisher: Berkley NAL
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  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. 

Kritters Thoughts:  A short story collection that takes place in a small town on Long Island during the summer after high school graduation of the main character - Katie.  Each chapter is a short story and they go mostly chronologically through the summer as her friends are all going their own way whether to college, jobs, marriage and other ways.  

After reading all the stories, the one thing that I noticed was that these stories all involved Katie, but I didn't feel like at the end that I knew Katie all that much.  I felt as though I knew everyone around her except her.  

With that in mind, I did enjoy the collection.  I like the small town settings and think that in a young person's life the summer after you graduate is a big transitional time and it is interesting to see where everyone ends up as fall begins.  

When I usually read short story collections, I read one story set the book down and read something else and come back and read another.  I would not suggest doing that with this one.  This book can be read cover to cover and I would as the stories "connect" in a way as the characters flow from one story to the next.  

I would absolutely warn that this book isn't for the faint of heart - with drugs, abortion, underage drinking and crazy parents/families, this book isn't a tame book.  I don't tend to read a lot of books like this, but every so often I don't mind reading something that feels so true and honest. 

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley NAL.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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