#Review: If You’d Just Listened…, by Barbara Venkataraman

Title: If You’d Just Listened to Me in the First PlaceIf You'd
Author: Barbara Venkataraman
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

“Meet Ella Boudreaux, a self-confessed nag. By no means — as Ella herself insisted — is she a negative person. Persistent might be a better word; she is the kind of person you’d ask for directions if you were lost, or provides you with a long chat while waiting in line at the grocery store.

‘Nobody, and I mean nobody, can nag like I can.’ Written from a first person point of view, protagonist Ella Boudreaux immediately establishes her unique skill set.

And where has it gotten her? Nowhere, that’s where.

She can’t hold onto a job and she can’t find her true calling, but she knows it’s out there. Could a handsome stranger help her find her destiny? Or maybe he was her destiny…” (description from Goodreads)


This short story was ok, but definitely took a bit of work to get through. I think that there is a good story idea inside the pages, but there was more trying to be done with the story that got in the way.

Despite what can be found in the description of this story, it’s not a first person point of view, well, not exactly. It’s a mixture of first person with some second person (the narrator talks to the reader) thrown in every now and then. 2nd person is fine, when used correctly. And I’m not even saying it’s not used correctly here, but the story as a hold is disjointed and not well established. What I gathered reading this, is that the narrator, Ella, is recalling how she met her husband. But she also starts off by listing her past jobs, which didn’t hold much interest for me because it didn’t tie into the later half. It just served to show that it took a bit to find her way in life, but in a long-winded way.

The switch between the “present” where the narrator is typing up the story for the reader, with her husband apparently looking over her shoulder, and the story itself (how they met) could have been a great addition to the story. But as I said, I don’t feel it was established well.

My bottom line with If You’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place is that while the title is a little awkward to read, the sentences inside the pages don’t reflect it. The words are well-written enough, the story itself wasn’t up to par for me. But there’s a story here I found hope for.


You can purchase this story from:



About the Author:

Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law. She is the author of “The Fight for Magicallus,” a children’s fantasy and two books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course,” and “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” which are part of an ongoing series entitled “Quirky Essays for Quirky People.” Her latest work is a humorous short story entitled, “If you’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place.” All of her books are available on Amazon.

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