It Could Be Worse (Paperback)

It Could Be Worse By Dara Levan Cover Image

It Could Be Worse (Paperback)


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“Visceral and moving,” (Andra Watkins, New York Times bestselling author), It Could Be Worse is a tale of acceptance and awakening—but not necessarily forgiveness—that reminds us we can choose how our stories end.

Mired in self-doubt and blind loyalty, Allegra Gil suspects her charmed life may be a gilded cage. She has a devoted husband, Benito, two loving children, a thriving therapy practice, and lifelong friends. But when a surprising discovery in a piano bench reveals a shocking family secret, Allegra questions everything she thought she knew about the two people who raised her. Was it true? Did her father, a respected pediatric neurosurgeon, harm instead of heal? And Allegra’s mother—how much did she know?

As the past threatens the present, Allegra plays the song of what was, what is, and what may never be in this “powerful and poignant story about letting go” (Jean Meltzer, international bestselling author of The Matzah Ball).

Composed with the cadence of a waltz—up, up, down—through flashbacks to childhood memories in Miami and a music camp in Michigan, It Could Be Worse is a heartwarming, at times heart-wrenching, multigenerational story of a woman supported and embraced by many while shaken to the core by a few. “The gorgeous prose and raw, unflinching narrative both heal and inspire. A stunning debut.” (Samantha M. Bailey, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of Woman on the Edge)

Dara Levan writes about love, loss, resilience, and how radiance emerges from our breaking points. She’s the founder and host of the Every Soul Has a Story podcast and blog. A graduate of Indiana University, Dara is a former pediatric speech-language pathologist who lives in Fort Lauderdale. Learn more at
Dara Levan is the creator and host of Every Soul Has a Story, a podcast in which she interviews inspiring people from around the globe. Her calling to impact others began at the age of twelve in her hometown of North Miami Beach, Florida, when she interviewed the residents of the nursing home where her grandmother lived and wrote their stories. As an undergrad at Indiana University, Dara earned a BA in English and pursued a career in journalism but decided to pivot and returned to South Florida to earn her MS in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Dara stopped practicing speech therapy to return to full-time writing. Actively involved in her community, she is currently a board member of the Community Foundation of Broward and board member of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation/Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Community Foundation of Broward. Dara served as a board member of the Goodman Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Broward County and Junior Achievement of South Florida. She is also a founding member of the Circle of Friends for the Alvin Sherman Library Research, Information, and Technology Center at Nova Southeastern University. Dara is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Women’s National Book Association, and the Authors Guild.
Product Details ISBN: 9798888454190
Publisher: Regalo Press
Publication Date: March 12th, 2024
Pages: 368
Language: English
“Readers will cheer for Allegra Gil, the spirited narrator of It Could Be Worse, who faces boundary-busting parents, a not so easy-peasy pregnancy, the madness of motherhood, a health scare, and the everyday angst of work/life balance with wit and grit. If life gives you lemons, read Dara Levan’s delightful debut novel.”
Sally Koslow, bestselling author of The Real Mrs. Tobias

“Visceral and moving. A must read for anyone seeking to understand the impact of parent-to-child narcissistic abuse. Inner child trauma is so powerful, so lasting, so tough to overcome. Levan conveys trauma with complexity, compassion, and empathy.”
Andra Watkins, New York Times bestselling author

“A powerful and poignant story about letting go. Dara Levan skillfully explores the effects of narcissistic personality disorder on the entire family. This is a book I will remember for a long time.”
Jean Meltzer, international bestselling author of The Matzah Ball

It Could Be Worse is a portrait of unconditional love—siblings, spouses, friends, children, and chosen family. Its waltz-like cadence crescendos with this pitch-perfect truth: Love is kind. Love doesn’t hurt. If you need to step out of soul-sucking relationships once and for all, these words, and this book, are a mighty guide.”
Laura Munson, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, and founder of Haven Writing Retreats

“With a unique melodic structure, It Could Be Worse is an authentic, emotionally resonant novel about how the past deeply affects our present experiences. Dara Levan’s extraordinary understanding of human nature and astonishing ability to lay bare the deepest parts of our souls is poured into Allegra, her brave, relatable protagonist, as she seeks to break free of the chains of her childhood and soar on her own terms. The gorgeous prose and raw, unflinching narrative both heal and inspire. A stunning debut.” 
Samantha M. Bailey, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of Woman on the Edge and Watch Out for Her

“There’s nothing more complex than the dynamics of a parent-child relationship...or the secrets that lurk in our past. Dara digs into the landscape of a heartbreaking family with powerful characters and seamless, lyrical prose. A debut with heart.”
Rea Frey, bestselling author of The Other Year

“A captivating, empowering read about reclaiming oneself and building the life of your dreams after years of being eager to please but never good enough. Perfect for book clubs.”
Julie Valerie, bestselling author of Holly Banks Full of Angst

“In her debut novel, Dara Levan beautifully weaves the past and the present in the life of a young mother who struggles to cling to the rose-colored view she has always held of her high-powered father. As the rhythm of the novel moves backward and forward, Allegra confronts some cold, hard truths about this parent she has kept on a pedestal while navigating her own way along the family path. Both touching and funny in equal measure, It Could Be Worse is ultimately a relatable story of growing up and standing up for ourselves. I enjoyed it very much!”
Deborah Goodrich Royce, nationally bestselling and award-winning author of Reef Road, Ruby Falls, and Finding Mrs. Ford

“A poignant debut about a woman who finds herself amid life’s many challenges, complete with childhood flashbacks that create a heartrending story of love, loss, and the strength to overcome.”
Emily Liebert, USA Today bestselling author

“In her powerful debut novel, It Could Be Worse, Dara Levan examines the many sides of complicated family relationships. Strong characters, childhood flashbacks, buried secrets, and a gut-wrenching decision combine to create a compelling narrative that lingers long after the last page is turned.” 
Patricia Sands, bestselling author of The Promise of Provence