If Only I’d Listened by Claire Boley @ClaireBoley @olympiapub #BookReview #1960




How ready are you for that?

How would you deal with becoming a parent before
you’ve left school?

One thing’s for sure, you can’t unmake babies. A fact that’s borne in on Peter Knight and Samantha Smithson, fifth and sixth formers at the South East Comprehensive in Deptford, living at a time when many parents are still of the old
school and pregnancy outside marriage carries a stigma.
Having to face their parents, their school friends, teachers and gossip is only
the beginning. Pete’s plans for university are scotched as he must seek
work and accommodation suitable for a young family. And all
the time he still wants to have fun, with ‘friends’ quite
happy to tempt him to do it.

As for Samantha, abortion is no easy option. Yet as her health, and
her faith in Peter, goes up and down, she may have
to think the unthinkable

Buy Link:

If Only I’d Listened


Being a child of the fifties I knew a little about the ‘good old days’ but not all of it, somethings you just never talked about. This story really gets into the nitty gritty reality of teenage pregnancy before marriage and makes heart breaking reading at times.

Gosh how times have changed! Peter and Sam are still at school when she becomes pregnant, not something that either of them had planned for but there again neither had done anything to stop it. Just buying condoms was a nightmare, having to ask sly for them at the chemist and been handed a package wrapped in brown paper, that was in itself obvious but people pretended they didn’t know what was inside. Yep no-one wanted unplanned pregnancies but buying protection made it seem seedy.

Peter wanted to do the right thing even if is cost him his University place, which meant telling both lots of parents, school, deciding what to do about the pregnancy, finding a job and somewhere to live. That was a pretty tall order. Love hadn’t even come into it and although there were alternatives where young girls ‘caught out’ could go, it wasn’t something they really wanted either.

The story looks at not only the young couple’s plight but how it impacted on their families and friends too. From the police involvement to the shame of sex before marriage and stigma that sounded a young single mum. financial help from government or parent support wasn’t an option either. It made it a tall order for such a young couple trying to do what was expected of them. It seemed at times that there was plenty advice but little help as they were pushed from pillar to post.

Claire Boley captures the helplessness of the plight of the couple that have nowhere to turn. They are still very immature trying to play adults before their time. Both want to do the right thing for the baby but they want to play both sides, going out with mates and other people too. A hard hitting look back into the past.


Claire Boley

I was born in Devon during the second world war. Aged six I moved with my parents to Buckinghamshire where I lived until I left home aged nineteen to train as a nurse.
For the last ten years I have been writing articles for the national magazines on different subjects including hand spinning. In 2011 I was commissioned by The Good Life Press to write my first book – Hand Spinning and Natural Dyeing.
My debut novel If Only I’d Listened, took three years to write and a few months to find a publisher. The novel is a family saga which is based in 60s’ London in an era when pregnancy outside of marriage carried a stigma.
Samantha Smithson a 16-year-old school girl gets pregnant by boy friend Peter Knight who is studying for his A levels.
Samantha spends the nine months in and out of hospital suffering from high blood pressure caused by having upsets with her parents over the pregnancy. Peter is encouraged by his school friends to go out and about and fun at parties, in between having upsets with his parents.


Amazon Author Page  





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