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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Young Cyrano by Paul Cicchini is the story of the famed Cyrano's youth and tells of a time before the tragic events of the play. Cyrano is idealistic and carefree, pining for the beautiful Roxanne and spending his days getting into trouble with his closest friend Le Bret. When Roxanne teases him of ghosts in the woods, the trio embarks on an adventure to know for sure, instead finding the runaway soldier Don Diego. Cyrano quickly takes up the job of helping him even if it means going behind his father's back. Then he and Le Bret embark on a new academic adventure where Cyrano finds more trouble than he expected when not everybody is won over by his charm, where a beautiful girl catches his eye, and where he discovers a talent for poetry.
Paul Cicchini excels at fitting the tone and dialogue to encompass the personality and charismatic nature of Cyrano by embracing the liveliness of the character and having genuine fun telling the story. This story is a prequel set before the events of the famous story. The dialogue has a playfulness to it that keeps the tone light but this doesn't take away from the war or the dangers that seem to come his way. The adventures of young Cyrano all connect but also make up a different aspect of his life with Don Diego, his feelings for Roxanne, the new woman he meets, and his adventures at school all playing a key part in how his story will eventually unfold. Everything he goes through, he does with his best friend at his side and whose encouragement guides him forward while also laying the groundwork for the bond between the two characters as adults. Cyrano's love of poetry and drama are explored through his time at school and help to build who Cyrano becomes.
Cicchini captures the ambiance with relative ease which makes the story feel like a true beginning to the characters. The various adventures set the origins for everyone and foreshadow how Cyrano's story turns out in the end. This will appeal to fans of the play but is written so that anyone can enjoy the story and fall in love with the character as the dashing and charismatic being he is. The story of Don Diego sets the stage for both the war and for Cyrano's love of adventure which helps lead into his struggles at school, and where the real danger ends up when he encounters a famed villainous character. Young Cyrano is humorous and charming which makes for an adventurous and fun origin story.