Book Reviews of Everything I Never Told You: A Novel

Everything I Never Told You: A Novel
Everything I Never Told You A Novel
Author: Celeste Ng
ISBN-13: 9781594205712
ISBN-10: 159420571X
Publication Date: 6/26/2014
Pages: 304
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 56 ratings
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

3 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

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Helpful Score: 4
A beautiful and heartbreaking tale of a family that quietly unravels in the wake of the death of the beloved middle child, and the events that formed the ways the family members related to each other and inadvertently lead to the circumstances of young Lydia's death. I liked the way the narrative jumps back and forth in time, showing first the events and interactions that were formative for various family members, then jumping forward to show how all that manifests in the ways they act and react after Lydia's death. It never gets confusing, though. A delicately written book.
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Everything I Never Told You, the debut novel by Celeste Ng, is the beautifully and gently told story of the Lee family living in Ohio in the 1970s. The themes of not belonging and not communicating recur with every character throughout the book. The adult characters, James and Marilyn, make choices that are not likable; yet, you want to understand them. The book leaves you sad and wishing that you could undo some of the choices and mend what is broken.

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Book Description:
A haunting debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation.

Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet . . . So begins the story in this exquisite debut novel about a Chinese American family living in a small town in 1970s Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue - in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James' case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party. - - When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is certain the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest of the family, Hannah, who observes far more than anyone realizes - and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened. - - A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

My Review:
This is a very heartbreaking and haunting story about a very dysfunctional family. It hooked my from the beginning when it starts by telling you that Lydia, the middle child, is dead. At first it seems like a mystery as to what happened to Lydia but you soon find out that she committed suicide. First of all, it is a mixed race household, (Asian father and American mother). The timeframe is the 70's when Chinese Americans were treated not so good. James, the father, wants his children to be popular because he was not. Marilyn, the mother, is not happy how her life turned out and wants Lydia, her daughter, to fulfill her dreams of becoming a doctor. Nathan, the son, just wants to escape because so much attention is placed on Lydia. Heather, the youngest, is just trying to survive living in this house of turmoil. With so much pressure to succeed placed on Lydia, you can quickly see why she committed suicide when she was not living up to her parents' expectations. There were twists and turns that made me feel like they may never really know their children especially with so many secrets that the family never share about themselves. I found this book to be a well-written good story but very sad, dark and depressing. I look forward to reading more by this author and would highly recommend this novel to those to like to read about different family dynamics.