Review by Justice McKenzie
Don’t You Know I Love You by Laura Bogart tells the story of Angelina Moltisanti, a girl with dreams of making art fresh out of college until she gets into an accident which destroys that dream. She is forced to live with her parents where she is on aggressive terms with her father, Jack, who maintains a tight grip over her. Her mother either doesn’t know any better or keeps her head down with regard to matters relating to Angelina. While trying to figure out what she will do, Angelina meets Janet, another artist, who helps and even inspires Angelina to do better while opening up about the scars of her past. However, Angelina’s charismatic and violent father continues to interfere with her life plans as she tries desperately to spread her wings.
The plot is intriguing, and the character interactions feel natural. As the plot unfolds, I could feel myself on the edge of my seat wanting to discover what would happen next. The book begins: “When Angelina felt her bone snap, she thought of home.” I was immediately put into the action and felt as bewildered as Angelina when I realized she was in a car accident. The emotion that Bogart evokes in the reader is her great strength as a writer. The third person perspective is non-traditional in how it jumps from character to character. We get a sense of who each person is, giving us the context we need at any specific time to understand why characters do what they do. We can feel what they are feeling, whether it’s happiness or anger, joy, frustration or fear. I felt grounded in the setting. The imagery is truly a delight. Some of the problems Angelina undergoes—from doubting her own future to parental problems—feel like those anyone else might have, and are therefore relatable. This book juggles diverse themes of physical and psychological abuse, romance, and the struggles of youth.
Don’t You Know I Love You could hit close to home for some making it nonetheless intriguing for that intimacy.
Publisher: Dzanc Books
Publication Date: March 17, 2020