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

I have to confess that I didn’t know much about the story told in Judy Chicurel’s debut novel before reading it. (It turns out that there are multiple stories, and as the novel’s set in a working class community, you get a real sense of that from the shifts in emphasis, with different characters coming to the fore while others fade into the background for a while.)

It’s set on a fictionalised Long Island of 1972. Now, Long Island’s not somewhere I’ve ever been but it’s one of those places that I can’t help wondering about whenever I hear it referenced in fiction or on TV and in films, and this was an interesting time for America, with young men returning from the Vietnam War, and young women having more freedom to make choices about their future than ever before.

But all I really knew going in to this was that I liked the look of the cover and the title – If I Knew You Were Going To Be This Beautiful I Never Would Have Let You Go – was long, yes!, but also intriguing. (It did also have me secretly hoping that the novel would be about more than the love story it suggests. Which it is.) And, much as I love the title, I’m going to be calling it This Beautiful for the rest of the review. 

“I’d been hanging around Comanche Street for three years and there were still times when it felt like I was watching a movie starring everyone I knew in the world, except me.” Read more

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