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Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite
If I Never Went Home tells the story of two Trinidadian women, Bea and Tina, and the separate yet inextricably linked lives they lead in two separate places. Told mostly through flashbacks switching between Tina and Bea, we learn just how tumultuous their lives were and how each woman’s tenacity led her to where she ultimately ends up. Ingrid Persaud writes a fantastic tale of survival and triumph without making the story too sweet or melodramatic. Bea ripped herself from the brink of suicide and turned her life around, helping others as a clinical psychologist. Tina, in her authentic Trini dialect, defines the caricature of a defiant teenager with a yearning for more underneath her tough exterior.
While it would be easy to chalk If I Never Went Home up to some uplifting chick lit, it would be doing both the author and the story a great disservice. Persaud tackles issues that touch the lives of many women: divorce, infidelity, incest, estrangement, and a deep desire to belong. The paths trodden by both Bea and Tina are different yet similar for, in their desire to achieve similar goals, both women must learn some hard truths for a hard-won happiness. Ingrid Persaud weaves a tale of pain and heartache with a rich Caribbean backdrop that serves as the perfect contrast to the sometimes emotional narrative she blends together.
If I Never Went Home answers a few important questions about returning to the scene of the crime, as it were, to find that things weren’t exactly as you remembered them. Without that reflection, one must wonder if Tina or Bea would have found the lives and happiness that awaited them.